James River Park manager Ralph White shared a story that would have to be true about a pig-catching in the Reedy Creek parking lot Saturday, just 24 hours after April Fools’ Day:
A pot-bellied pig showed up in the Reedy Creek Parking lot — I got the call at 7:30 am. Docile, friendly and regrettably playful. Peter Bruce and his assistant, our seasonal worker Mark Dillard, went to see if they couldn’t toss a rope over it as it snoozed and grunted contentedly beside the portajohn. “Catch me” was obviously a familiar game to her, so keeping ten feet away and wiggling her tail was all that occurred. Pete gave up and went to haul gravel. Mark became Wildlife Ranger and sat nearby to keep visitors with loose dogs away. The pig slept in a soft, sunny site beside the Buttermilk Trail.
Animal Control arrived by 11:30. Tried a trap baited with apples and cat food …. she’d eat everything up to and immediately the outside the gate, but never put a nose inside. More rope throws and an attempt to trap it in a piece of orange snow fence. The pig cut figure 8’s around her would-be captors and wiggled her tail.
At long last, it back-tracked, sauntered through the parking lot. It sidled up to the chain link fence at the back corner and began a rather taunting catnap — one eye open and belches of apple-bellied pleasure.
A police car blocked off part of the parking lot. Three mountain bikers and held up sections of the plastic snow fence. One Animal Control Officer was at the right end, one officer and Mark Dillard were at the other. We all walked slowly forward. The pig was trapped, It sauntered up and down the edge of the fencing testing the defenses. The space was getting tighter. We took our time. Five minutes passed….then 7 or 8.
She made a break for it. Cutting sharply around the left end she got past Mark, then went to the side of the officer, and against the leg of a mountain biker. There chase was on. Along the side of the fence she went.
Then, arrogantly, she stopped to look back….and wiggle her tail. Mark, the officer and 2 bikers ran around her; the rest of us came up behind. The officer tossed a noose. It was on….a great cheer. A groan, it was off. The pig shrugged and made a sharp turn, doubled back on itself and slipped past the first group and aimed at the open space now looming before the distant second group.
Mark made a lunge and a flying leap. He grabbed the pig by the front leg….someone got a rope on. The game was ended. We pulled the pig into the poke. And Pruecilla Pig? She nestled down peacefully in the cage to eat the last of the apples.