MANDAN, N.D. — A blind, potbellied pig found abandoned will get a second chance at life at an animal rescue near Mandan.
Alison Smith, owner of Kitty City animal rescue, took in Wanda the pig, who was found deserted at a residence in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
A volunteer with Kitty City made the more than 500-mile trek this past weekend to pick up Wanda and take her to Mandan to be nursed back to health.
"She’s in semi-rough shape," Smith said Monday.
Wanda doesn't have eyes, which Smith said are believed to have been punctured. She has overgrown hooves and severe infections in both eye sockets.
Wanda was found at a residence on the edge of Albert Lea, according to Lt. Darren Hanson of the Albert Lea Police Department. The person who had been living there had vacated the residence.
The new property owner discovered Wanda holed up in a small pen and turned her over to the Freeborn County Humane Society. Hanson said no charges will be filed against the person previously staying at the residence.
Christa DeBoer, director of the Freeborn County Humane Society, said she had been called out to the property about two months ago because the living conditions there were inhabitable. In addition to swine, there were also horses, cats, dogs and a raccoon.
About two weeks ago, DeBoer and other shelter staff rescued Wanda — found in a small fenced-in chicken coop — and brought her back to the shelter. She was in rough shape, not eating or drinking. DeBoer said she attributed it to stress, but neither she nor her staff had experience with pigs.
"We just thought we took this poor, old blind thing out of a place she’s always known," she said.
Smith, who has sheltered pigs in the past, said she learned about Wanda after the Freeborn County Humane Society posted on Facebook asking for animal rescues to help.
"It just tugged at me right away and it was just like, 'I need to just do something,'" Smith said. "I said I would help, but the issue was getting her here."
On Saturday morning, a Kitty City volunteer drove and picked up Wanda from the shelter and they arrived back in Mandan later that night.
Wanda was taken to a veterinarian on Monday and given antibiotics for her infections. Smith said it's not clear how old Wanda is, but she weighs about 150 to 200 lbs.
Smith said her biggest concern is having surgery performed to remove what's left of Wanda's eyes and have them sewn shut.
"She's doing well," said Smith, adding that Wanda is staying warm under a heat lamp and burying herself in straw. She's been munching on vegetables, such as lettuce and cucumbers, to stay hydrated.
Smith said she has experience with other blind animals at her animal rescues, Kitty City and Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue, including horses, cats and dogs. Her work primarily focuses on animals with physical disabilities and behavioral issues.
“We’ve taken in so many blind animals, and their quality of life is just as every bit of good as a sighted animal," she said. "(Wanda is) getting better, not worse."