Mini Pigs Are Hugely Popular

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Framingham, MA – The Franceskin family of Framingham, Massachusetts fell in love with love with little pigs or “teacup pigs,” as they are known in the profession, when they appeared on “The Late Show with Jay Leno”. The miniature kind of swine may be new to the MetroWest area and the state, but breeder Tammy Carlson, who runs a pig farm outside San Diego, said the cute companion animal is becoming an increasingly popular American house pet.

“There’s a huge demand,” said Carlson, who runs PixiePigs.com. “I have a hard time even keeping up with my e-mails. I get so many inquiries about them, and we have a lot of visitors come out and see the pigs.” The Franceskins are her first customers in Massachusetts.

However, local Animal Control officer Katherine MacKenzie wasn’t convinced that the Franceskins could handle a pig. “This is a novelty pet,” MacKenzie said. “This is something that is just in vogue right now.” The Animal Rescue League of Boston says its concerned that teacup pigs, like any other exotic pet, will be just another passing fad people will get over quickly.

Other types of exotic pets that were passing fads include potbelly pigs, iguanas, parrots, ferrets, and designer dogs such as Labradoodles and Puggles. Pet owners often end up surrendering these types of animals, rescue league spokeswoman Jennifer Wooliscroft said. Fifteen years ago, Disney made Dalmatians all the rage. “People buy on impulse or they’re caught up in the moment and just find they’re not ready to care for it,” she said.

Among her concerns, MacKenzie worries about people buying any kind of pet online and the idea of the Franceskins keeping a teacup pig in their tight residential neighborhood off Central Street in Framingham. “Although this is going to be a small animal – hopefully, it’s still a pig,” MacKenzie said. After doing research, MacKenzie said there is no guarantee that teacup pigs, like any kind of pig, won’t grow larger than expected.

“They all start out tiny and cute and look like Wilbur. Even Wilbur grew up in ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ ” MacKenzie said. “Piglets sit in your hands like puppies … and they can grow into a little Volkswagen.”

Carlson said the teacup pigs she raises are selectively bred to be especially petite.

The family understands MacKenzie’s concerns. They will take raising a pig seriously and are ready for it – stinky pig poop and all, Franceskin said. Karen and Helmut Franceskin and their children, Emma, 12, Milo, 9, and Maggie, 7, received the Framingham Board of Health’s OK last week to bring home a tiny teacup pig.