Sun, May 25, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Gigantic pig becomes part of Taipei City community

By Lin Hsiao-Yun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Happy, a 150kg sow, takes a walk near the intersection of Minzu W Road and Yanping N Road in Taipei City on Wednesday.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

A 150kg pig who resides at the intersection of Yanping N Road and Minzu W Road has become part of the community in Datong District, Taipei City.

The pig, named Happy, lives alone in an unused concrete house. Happy is well liked by the local community and fed by stallholders at the local market. In fine weather Happy finds shade near buildings and often goes on strolls as far as Taipei Bridge. No matter where she goes, Happy always manages to find her way home.

Many mistake Happy for a wild pig and the Guoshun Borough (國順) chief has in the past made calls for help to police, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Council of Agriculture. However, as the matter remained unresolved for more than two years, local residents have grown accustomed to coexisting with the porker.

Happy’s owner, Hu Wan-chi (胡萬吉), said he purchased Happy from a pet shop on Heping W Road three years ago for NT$4,500. The owner had told him that Happy, who weighed 30kg at the time, was a miniature pig that would not grow longer than 100cm. However, a year later, Happy had become so large that she could no longer climb the stairs to Hu’s fifth floor apartment.

Hu remembers Happy’s earlier days with fondness. Back then, Happy would follow Hu around. In hot weather, Hu bathed Happy often and Happy was obedient and clean.

The small concrete building where Happy resides is an empty ice storage area from the time when Hu was an ice vendor. After Happy became too big, Hu was unable to keep her at home and yet loath to send her to a slaughterhouse.

Unable to find a new owner for Happy, Hu made the empty ice storage Happy’s new home.

Luckily, Happy is well liked and often fed by locals who give her milk and leftovers, Hu said.

Once a young woman even hired workmen to mend Happy’s house, he said.

Hu is reserved about the fact that he has no choice but to allow Happy to live on the street. He also refused to be photographed with the pig. He says that he has not given Happy a bath in the last two years and that Happy has become so overweight that she can barely open his eyes.

However, when Hu walks past, Happy always greets him joyfully, he said.

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