ELY TOWNSHIP — Two summers ago, Tony Gervasi and Brandy Savelle decided to bring another pet into their home. They already had two dogs, Moose and Isabelle, so naturally, they adopted a miniature pig, which they named Caesar.
“He just instantly became one of us, cuddled, slept in our bed. Just like another dog,” said Gervasi.
Caesar was mostly an indoor pig until recently, when Tony and Brandy started letting him roam around on their 28–acre property. Last Thursday, Caesar didn’t come back to the house when they called for him. That’s when they set out to find Caesar.
“When I followed the prints and saw where it was it was like a puddle of blood. At first I didn’t believe it because it was a weird color, it was kind of pinkish purple so I stuck my finger in it and looked, and I just knew,” said Savelle.
There was blood and drag marks, but no body near the end of their driveway. They took to social media, looking for answers.
The next morning, their worst fears were realized. A DNR officer knocked on their front door.
“When he first told me that he was the one responsible, that was the first thing, like oh did you run him, did you hit him because that’s what it looked like, that’s what we thought and that’s what I was prepared for. He said no and I instantly knew, I said, you shot my pig and he said yes I did,” said Savelle.
The DNR tells ABC 10 that the pig did not charge the officer. He shot the pig due to his rights as a Conservation Officer under the Feral Swine laws. Then the officer loaded up his body and took him away.
“The only thing that he said was that he was following orders; those are the instructions to shoot pigs. When I asked him how he could shoot something so small he said that there is such a problem with wild pigs in our area so he was just doing his job. If Caesar did in fact go up to him it’s because he associates humans with food. Just picturing Caesar seeing this guy and thinking ‘oh a new person. I’m on my way home but you might have food so I’m just going to…’ and him just walking up and him getting a bullet instead makes me very upset,” said Savelle.
Tony and Brandy were told that they likely won’t get their Casear’s body back, unless its in ashes.
“They knew it was our pet and they still decided to ship it off which doesn’t make any sense,” said Gervasi.
The couple moved to Ely Township so that their dogs and pig could roam freely and safely. Now, they plan on moving back to their old house, in Negaunee Township, without their beloved pet pig.
Lieutenant Pete Wright of the Michigan DNR said, “It’s the agency’s intent to never, ever shoot someone’s pet. Swine running at large on private or public property is considered to be a nuisance.”
Lt. Wright added that people in Michigan have killed 500 feral pigs in the state since 2001. Wright also called the recent incident ‘Unfortunate and Regrettable.’