Prosser Heights mascot gets stay of execution
Just days away from her seemingly inevitable earthly departure, Lily – the unofficial mascot of Prosser Heights – got a stay of execution this week, thanks to the efforts of her savior Renee Zimmick.
Lily, a domesticated 200-pound pig, is now living the good life at the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, Calif., where sanctuary workers took her on Tuesday.
“I said I really want Lily to be placed in a safe haven,” Zimmick said. “She’s adorable; she’s like a dog. She is very lovable, and she was raised with kids.”
What’s more interesting is how she got there. Lily’s life started typically – for a pig.
She was raised as livestock, and on her way to slaughter, when last year she rolled out of a truck on I-80 and was rescued by a local family. When she got too big for their home, Ray Shady, a local businessman and animal lover, took her and gave her a pen at his Prosser Heights house.
Shady’s home is not typical for his neighborhood.
In the 12 years he has lived in Truckee, he has accrued a virtual Noah’s Ark of animals, including three potbelly pigs, three donkeys, a llama, two goats, several peacocks “and the typical dogs, cats and a squeaky bird,” he said. And before animal control clamped down on him, his animals often had free reign in the neighborhood.
“The donkeys would always end up down at Coachland (mobile home park),” he said. “The kids would feed them apples. I used to have the nursery schools and elementary schools come to the house.”
But progress, and tighter local government control, put Shady and his miniature farm in a tough spot.
“They would go to Coachland, eat someone’s flowers and poop on their lawn,” Shady said. “There was one night the entire police department was down there. There was something like four cars and 10 men.”
And then came the fines.
When Shady’s animals got out, and animal control was called to the scene, he would get a ticket. Then another, more expensive ticket. The fines took their toll on Shady’s wallet.
“You cannot have animals at large,” he said. “The fine doesn’t go by the animal, it goes by the owner.
“It gets to the point where they price the offenders totally out. If this was a dog, no one would care.”
Lily, described by Shady as a dog that just looks like a pig, was one of the worst offenders.
Two times last week, Lily was reported to local police, wandering down Alder Drive. Keeping her in a pen was too confining, Shady said, but allowing her to roam was beginning to get a little expensive.
So Shady called the butcher.
“The pig originally came to me as a sanctuary thing, and I would keep it if it didn’t wander off,” he said. “It’s about a 200-pound pig, so I figured ‘I’m going to have some good bacon.'”
Zimmick, who rents a piece of property from Shady, was called to action when she learned of Lily’s plight last week.
“Out of his big heart, he took Lily; however, he didn’t have appropriate quarters for her,” Zimmick said. “I called Ray Monday and I said ‘You give me a week.’ I wanted to find a home for Lily.”
Zimmick’s call list included the San Francisco Zoo, the Sacramento Zoo, and local news stations. She was finally referred to the Farm Sanctuary, which agreed to take the pig.
“This has been an interesting chain of events, and I believe this pig’s life has been saved more than once,” Zimmick said.
That’s one lucky pig.