You might have seen those adorable, miniature piglets. They’re the hot new pet and some breeders say they will stay small forever. Many celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Paris Hilton have them.
But Hilton and other pet lovers are learning a cold hard truth: "There's no such thing as a teacup pig," said veterinarian Patty Dedrick.
That’s right, Dedrick and other experts told INSIDE EDITION that those cute little teacup piglets are a myth. They don't exist. They're just regular Pot-Bellied pigs.
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“When they’re adults they’re going to weigh 200 pounds,” Dedrick said.
Even Hilton’s little piggy, which she named Princess Pigelette, was supposed to stay small forever. But recent photos reveal Princess Pigelette is now huge.
Mike Chavez and his girlfriend, Lauren Hodges, say the breeder who sold their pig, named Piggy Smalls promised them the little guy would grow to no more than 40 pounds. But today he weighs in at almost 200 pounds!
“We never would have bought him if we knew how big he would get,” Chavez said.
But now they're stuck with Piggy Smalls. "We love him but he's just so big,” Hodges said.
Fortunately they try to make Piggy Smalls comfortable. They even built special ramps for him so he can descend stairs. While our cameras were in their kitchen, Piggy Smalls let himself in and immediately headed for the pantry, grabbed a bag of chips and tore them open before Chavez could get it from him.
At the end of the night, Piggy Smalls sleeps in a cozy cage in their house.
Posing as potential customers, INSIDE EDITION’s I-Squad wanted to see what a breeder would tell us.
Vickie Barrow, who is not the breeder that sold Piggy Smalls, owns The Best Little Potbelly Pig House in Texas. She sells what she calls miniature pigs. She met with us outside Houston and we had our hidden cameras rolling.
INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero asked, “So, what kind of pig is this?”
Barrow replied, “This is a miniature potbellied pig and mine are extra tiny. … These are like apartment pigs.”
Guerrero asked, "So, how big will this pig get?"
"About the size of a Cocker Spaniel dog,” Barrow replied. “None of mine even come up to my knee."
“So this pig will only get to be about 30 pounds?” asked Guerrero.
“Or 40, something like that,” Barrow replied.
But INSIDE EDITION spoke with people all over the country who said they purchased pigs from Barrow and were also told the cute little porkers would stay small, only to find they would grow to more than 100 pounds – in many cases much more. One pig, named Wilber is now over 300 pounds, according to it’s owner.
So Guerrero introduced herself to Barrow and asked about all those big pigs people say she’s sold. “We wanted to ask you about the pigs that you're selling. People you sold pigs to claim that you said they would never get this big.”
But Barrow defended her business.
“They usually don't (get that big),” Barrow said. “Every year we're getting them smaller and smaller.”
Unfortunately, when the cute little piglets outgrow their welcome, many families end up abandoning or euthanizing the huge pigs.
Fortunately, there are some sanctuaries for pigs across the country. One of them is Lil’ Orphan Hammies in Solvang, Calif., which houses Pot-Bellied pigs that have outgrown their homes.
Sue Parkinson who runs Lil’ Orphan Hammies said, “I get calls every day and my email is flooded with people needing help.”
She said she houses 65 pigs and is at maximum capacity.
“’No’ is the hardest word for a shelter but I’m out of options,” Parkinson said. “Do not buy teacup piglets. They don’t exist.”