Most of us have never worried about becoming the victim of a pig attack. So when I saw this little story by an old friend now living up mauka in Hilo, I immediately asked for and received permission to share the tale.
As an aside, I realized we’ve known each other for well over 40 years. That’s both startling and sobering.
Anyway, here’s his story, reprinted from an email with his permission.
I was attacked by a pig down near the makai end of the street on October 14. I was taking a morning walk and heard a long, frenzied barking near the back of a house under construction, but, of course, neither the owner nor builder was there at the time. I walked toward the commotion and soon realized that a dog (it looked like a pit bull on a chain) and a pig were fighting. The dog would attack the pig and then the pig would attack the dog. Neither was yielding. The dog had a dog house but he did not retreat into it. I thought that I probably could see the pig’s snout covered with blood but was not certain of that.
I moved a little closer (to 65 feet or so) to get a better look, the pig saw me, and began to move toward me at a fast trot. I picked up a large rock to get ready for him. He came right up to me and bit me on my left thigh, and I hit him with the rock, dropping the rock in the process. I decided to make a run for it. When I wheeled around to run, the pig ran back toward the dog. I walked home and tried to get some help from our next-door neighbors, who are pig hunters, but none of them were home.
Then my wife and I drove to the lot in our car to check on the dog’s condition. The pig was gone, but the pit bull did not bark at us, which I took to be an indication that it was injured.
We returned home, and we called the Police and the Humane Society, both of which refused to respond. I tried everything I could think of to find out who the owner and/or contractor were, so that I could
contact them. Easily found the name of the owner but could not find a phone number for him. Finally, I left a message on the door of the house with my phone number. The owner contacted me that night. He said that the dog, a female pit bull, was pretty well beaten up.
The pig had bitten the front of my left thigh through my thick shorts, but it did not appear that his teeth actually had come in contact with or broke my skin, so I thoroughly washed the area and let it go at that–no trip to ER or urgent care. My thigh developed two large darkish bruises (one for upper
teeth and one for lower teeth) that lasted two weeks or so. I had my regular visit with my primary care doctor the next week. He was okay with my assessment/treatment of the bite. My neighbor pointed out that the femoral artery is on the top of the thigh, so a deep bite could have been dangerous.
A couple of weeks later, I took a walk down to the end of the road, near the house where the confrontation had occurred. I noticed that the owner-builder was on site, so I walked up to introduce myself. It turned out that he had returned the dog to the house site for the first time on that very morning, so I got to meet and make friends with Stella. She is a beautiful pit bull with a solid gray coat and very friendly. She is the special friend of the man’s daughter, who is 10 or 11 years old. The owner said that Stella’s tongue was cut badly during the fight, and he showed me the nasty wound on her right shoulder, a rip, which was healing nicely.
I think that pigs are a generally under appreciated danger here. Many people have houses on lots that are right next to forested areas, and pigs go where they want. I worry about, say, surprising a pig at the back of our property, especially a sow with a litter of small pigs or a macho boar. Just this morning, on our way to the farmers’ market, we saw a pig trotting along the edge of the road, not concerned at all by our car. They are not an unusual sight.
When we lived in Kaaawa, pigs would come down from the mountains when food or water was in short supply up in their normal territory. At least a couple of times, we looked out to see a large pig digging up the front lawn. Luckily, they didn’t attack. And there was the morning we found a piglet in the yard. It was small enough to put in a cat carrier while we tried to decide what we should do. I went over to see if one of our neighbors had any suggestions, and she decided to adopt the pig. It grew up and probably got to be close to 300 pounds, and lived a happy long life in penned area in their yard.
It was, fortunately or unfortunately, more common to have local pig hunters take such matters into their own hands.