This little piggy
Wanting A Place In The Dung, next-door’s 20st lodger was helping himself to Marie’s well-kept flower borders –and then her legs!
… mauled me!
Climbing out of my car on the drive, I thought I was hallucinating. ‘Oink, oink.’ There it was again! Was there a pig about? ‘Can’t be,’ I thought. I live on a residential street in Walsall, West Midlands, not in the country. ‘Oink!’
What the? The sound was definitely coming from Nick Jackson’s, next-door.
Was his bloomin’ noisy parrot impersonating a pig?
Going inside, I went upstairs to peer through the bedroom window into his back garden. ‘Oh, my God,’ I gasped. There was an actual pig snuffling around! It was the size of a Labrador, with pink and black spots.
‘Please, no,’ I sighed.
It was June 2013, and the arrival of a porker was the last thing I needed.
Life was full-on, caring for my mum, Margaret, 87, all day at her place. My home of 30 years was my sanctuary.
I enjoyed lying in bed, reading a library book and relaxing.
Often that was interrupted by next-door’s squawking parrot or barking Great Dane. Now I had an oinking pig to contend with!
A few days later, I walked out of my back door into the garden to find holes in my fence.
The pig had obviously butted his head against the panels. Maybe he’d been angry because he’d smelled my bacon sarnie!
Irritated, I put a note through Nick’s front door asking him to keep his new pet away from my property.
‘Hammy didn’t mean any harm,’ Nick said, turning up at my door later. ‘He’s only a micro pig, so won’t grow much more.’
I roped in my brother, John, 56, to repair the fence. He laid pig-height gravel boards along the side.
‘What about this section?’ John asked. Nick had built the pig a wooden hut bordering the furthest section of my fence.
‘That’s probably all right,’ I said. ‘The hut looks sturdy.’
It was small, though. There was hardly room to swing a cat. And forget being a micro pig – Hammy just kept growing. Soon I reckoned he weighed 20st!
And he had sharp, white tusks above his snout, like a wild boar.
‘He should be in a field, not a paved backyard littered with old washing machines and smashedup bicycles,’ I grumbled to Mum.
Sometimes I watched the pig, shuffling about looking bored, from my bedroom window. I felt sorry for him – but not enough to give up my bacon butties!
‘Hello, Hammy,’ the children from the local school cried, hanging over the top of Nick’s fence. A novelty for them I supposed, but I felt like I was living next door to a zoo!
Over the years, Hammy’s pooey stench wafted my way every time I had my morning cuppa on the patio.
I complained to the council but all they did was put a letter through Nick’s door about hygiene. Nothing changed – he was obviously as happy as a pig in muck, but I certainly wasn’t.
Then, in October 2017,
I noticed a small hole, about the size of a letter box, in my fourth fence panel – the one Hammy’s home was built against.
I stomped out to have a look – and gagged. I could see – and smell – right into the pig’s hut. He’d smashed it up, and straw, wood and poo were all mulched together in a stinking mess.
Suddenly, a pair of little piggy eyes appeared in the hole – staring directly at me. ‘Good boy,’ I gasped, shocked. Close up, through the smashedup fence, Hammy looked like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Heeeeere’s Hammy! Scared, I ran back to my home and rang a local fencing company.
‘Help!’ I yelped. ‘I need some concrete gravel boards to protect me from next-door’s pig.’
The man was sympathetic to my plight – but couldn’t deliver the boards for a few days…
‘Get them as fast as you can,’ I pleaded. ‘It’s an emergency.’
Next day – 4 October 2017 – I was startled from reading in bed by a load of banging and crashing in my garden.
It sounded like a demolition derby!
I jumped up, opened my curtains – and screamed.
My garden shed was upside down and all the tools scattered across the lawn while my terracotta plant pots were shattered. My borders of daffodil, tulip and bluebell bulbs had been churned up by what looked like a 10-ton truck.
And, standing proudly in the chaos, was the pig, looking for the next thing to destroy.
Fighting back tears, I pulled my dressing gown on and, grabbing a broom, ran out of the back door to face the intruder. When I was the broom’s length away from him, I gave him a little prod. He just stared at me, defiant, so I gave him another shove, harder this time.
‘Get out of my garden,’ I yelled. But Hammy, still staring, didn’t budge. Then he put his head down, white tusks glinting like knives, and charged me as if he was in a Spanish bullring. ‘No!’ I screamed, as the weight of his body slammed into me and a tusk dug into my left shin. Desperate, I hobbled towards where my car was parked. My garden was paved and backed on to a road, so I kept my Skoda there.
Between it and the wall was a space for me to hide, too skinny for Hammy.
But, just as I was about to reach safety, the pig charged again, plunging his tusks into my right thigh.
‘Stay away from me,’ I croaked, sliding into the gap. The pig just ambled off, blood smeared on his tusks, as if nothing had happened. ‘Marie? Are you OK?’ My next-door neighbour on the other side, Trevor…
‘The pig’s attacked me!’ I screamed. ‘Call an ambulance!’
Blood pumped from my legs like water from a tap and the skin hung down in flaps.
I had to get away from that pig, so I gingerly opened the gate, climbed into my car and drove on to the cul-de-sac.
That caught the pig’s attention – he followed me!
Heart hammering, I parked up, but Hammy had now escaped. He lumbered past me, looking for fresh havoc to wreak.
So, taking my chance, I staggered back inside to change out of my bloody nightgown.
Then Trevor rang my doorbell.
‘Ambulance is on its way,’ he said. ‘Come round ours, Marie – you can’t stay here on your own. You’re white with shock.’
Five minutes later, two paramedics arrived at Trevor’s, where I was bleeding all over the carpet.
On the way to The Manor Hospital in Walsall, they phoned the police to report a pig on the loose.
Just as well – I didn’t want him attacking anyone else!
I was given a tetanus jab, and needed immediate surgery to clean my wounds and stitch my legs back together…
When I woke up in recovery, I was on a drip.
‘You’re fine,’ a nurse told me. ‘But the hospital photographer is coming to take pictures of your legs. We’ve never treated a pigattack victim before and it could be useful if we ever have to again.’
Next day, my sister Liz arrived from Somerset to care for Mum while I was incapacitated, and she popped round mine to clear up all the blood on my carpets.
‘Trevor says the pig’s gone,’ she said, visiting me. Apparently he hadn’t got far before several neighbours managed to shoo him back in his pen.
‘He’s been taken to a sanctuary to be rehabilitated.’
Nick could do with the same, I thought!
Still, when I returned home four days later, I was nervous. What pet would my neighbour decide to buy now?
A boa constrictor to live on his roof ?!
I woke in the night screaming, haunted by flashbacks of
Hammy charging me. And it took months to stop hearing phantom oinks coming from next door.
But, nearly a year on, they’ve finally passed.
I have the permanent reminders
– scars on my left shin, right knee and the inside of my right thigh.
And on the back of my right thigh, there’s a 6in whopper.
Me and Nick haven’t spoken since, but I’ve read in the local paper that the pig is doing well in the sanctuary and is something of a reformed character.
Sanctuary staff have changed his name to protect his identity so he can start a new life with a clean slate. And, despite everything, I’m glad.
It wasn’t his fault – I’d go spare if I had to live in those conditions.
I hope he now really is happy as a pig in muck. I’m just glad I don’t have to smell it! Marie Yates, 62, Wednesbury, West Midlands
Nick Jackson said at the
time, ‘I’ve had Hammy for four years and he’s good as gold. I got hold of all the correct licences so I have every right to keep this pig. He is the friendliest animal in the world – he sits on my grandson’s lap and likes to cuddle up to people. I wish I had CCTV because I can’t imagine why he would charge anyone – that’s the first thing he’s ever done. I am sorry Marie is in hospital, but there are things she could have done to avoid this.’
He charged me as if he was in a bullring
Lethal weapon: Hammy’s tusks gored me Hammy’s pen was a pigsty next to my neat garden (on the right, below)
I needed surgery for my terrible wounds My scarred pins are a permanent reminder Hammy’s happy in his new home, being looked after by David Bourne