Brandy Savelle and Tony Gervasi got Caesar the miniature potbelly pig two years ago. The friendly pet was a welcome addition to the couple. "He instantly became one of us, he cuddled and slept in our bed," Savelle told WLUC.
After the couple had a baby, they decided to train Caesar to go outside of their Ishpeming Township, Michigan, home. On April 2, Caesar went missing and the couple was horrified when they found him in a puddle of blood.
The Department of Natural Resources said their officers frequently patrol rural areas and one discovered Caesar on state land. Caesar was shot because pigs can carry diseases and damage property.
"It's important to say that while it’s not unusual to see a pig and shoot it,” said Peter Wright, a law supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources. “What was unusual was the fact that this turned out to be a pet."
The DNR said Caesar wasn’t wearing any indication that he was a pet.
"I want to make it very clear that it's never ever, ever the department’s position that we want to shoot people's pets,” Wright added. “If he had any inkling it was a pet he absolutely wouldn't have shot it. But at that point he didn't know that and he was just doing his job."
Gervasi is still upset over the loss of his companion.
"To just shoot without identifying the target, I don't think that's what they should be doing," he told WLUC.
Caesar’s body was taken to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to be tested for diseases. Later, he’ll be taken to Michigan State University for diagnostic testing.
"We just don't want it to happen again,” Savelle said. “If it was that big of a mistake then we would like to see better training. Let's learn to identify not just pigs, but all pets.”