Morbidly obese pig rescued in Billerica, animal cruelty charges possible

Maybelle weighs about 80 pounds more than she should

Maybelle the potbellied pig is seen here in a photo provided by the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

BILLERICA, Mass. (WWLP) – The owner of a potbellied pig who is about 80 pounds overweight is expected to be charged with animal cruelty. Meanwhile, an animal rescue group is trying to get the obese pig back down to a healthy weight.

Michael DeFina, spokesperson for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, says that one year-old Maybelle was taken from Billerica to their Dedham adoption center about six weeks ago. He said that at the time of her arrival, she weighed 196 pounds, about 80 pounds over her ideal weight. She cannot see, due to folds of fat covering her eyes. DeFina also said she had pressure sores and overgrown hooves, which have been causing her extreme discomfort.

Image Courtesy: Animal Rescue League of Boston.

DeFina says that in her previous situation, Maybelle was allegedly eating only dog food. She is now on a diet of six small meals every two hours.

“Maybelle’s caloric intake has been drastically reduced, and staff is already recording results, as she is now able to stand and walk in small increments,” DeFina wrote in a statement to 22News.

The former owner is expected to face an animal cruelty charge, which DeFina says is the right thing in this situation.

“Whereas denying an animal food to the point of starvation is an act of cruelty, overfeeding an animal to the point where they are unhealthy is also an act of cruelty,” DeFina said.

22News has contacted Billerica Police for more information about the case.

DeFina said that Maybelle is receiving good care, and is recovering. Their hope is that when she has lost enough weight, she can be moved into a new adoptive home. That may take quite a while, however, as the process to get her down to a healthy weight is expected to last between nine and 12 months.