The moment of seeing her FFA project pig mangled, bloody and dead was almost more than Corning High School student Amber Holland could bear. Her pig, which she was raising at the high school’s Rodgers Ranch had been attacked and killed by dogs.
It was the same for two more of the school’s sophomore FFA students, Kaden Kiefer who was with Holland when they discovered the pigs, and A.J. Safford who learned of the killings from his father, Bob Safford, a Corning High School agriculture teacher.
“I came to the ranch to feed and work with my pig,” Holland said. “And there it was, dead. Two more were also dead and two others injured. I cried so much and was so angry.”
The animals were being raised as project pigs for the Tehama District Fair’s 4-H and FFA Livestock Auction which takes place in April, less than three months away.
The attack occurred two weeks ago. Two days later Holland and Kiefer each bought another young pig to raise for the fair at a cost of $400 a pig, the same as what they paid for their first animals. Safford also bought a second pig which he is keeping at his family’s farm, and the other three FFA pigs housed at the ranch have been relocated.
Kiefer and Holland took their new pigs to the school ranch for a short layover before moving them to a different location.
“We secured the pens the best that we could to protect the pigs from anymore attacks. We were gone less than two hours,” Kiefer said. “When we got back our pigs had already been attacked by the dogs again. I couldn’t believe it.”
Holland said she has never been so upset and mad.
A veterinarian was called and attended to the animals’ terrible wounds. Holland’s pig is still recovering, unfortunately, Kiefer’s pig didn’t make it.
“I was in shock. It has been unreal. Here I’m out two pigs and the high cost of veterinary fees,” Kiefer said. “And now I need to buy another pig.”
Both Kiefer and Holland had FFA insurance on their animals, so the cost of purchasing the second pig for both of them is covered, however, Kiefer wasn’t sure if the insurance would cover the cost of his third pig, and it doesn’t pay for the vet bills.
On top of that, there is the loss of time and money put into feed, training and caring for the animals in preparation to show and sale the pigs at the fair.
“We take the responsibility of these animal seriously,” Kiefer said. “A lot of time is put in to them every single day, twice a day, before and after school, and on the weekends. You don’t take a day off.”
In the meantime, Corning High School administration called the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office to report the attacks.
“Sheriff’s animal control officers came out to investigate the incident,” said Jason Armstrong, Corning High School associate principal. “They contacted all of the residents in the area to warn them about dogs attacking the pigs for the safety of their animals, and to investigate if the attacks were from any of the residents’ dogs.”
The high school has hired a professional trapper from the Bay Area in an effort to catch the dogs involved in the attacks. Surveillance video has also been set up at the ranch.
“He has set live traps and we are waiting to see what happens. If the dogs are captured we will then determine what steps to take next,” Armstrong said.
He added that the school is doing all it can to support the students impacted by what took place at the ranch.
“This has been pretty devastating. We haven’t had anything like this happen in all the years students have been raising animals at the school ranch,” Armstrong said.
Holland, Kiefer and Safford agree that although they are very sad and upset about what has taken place, it isn’t going to stop them from raising and showing a pig at the fair. This will be the second year for each to raise, show and sale a pig.
Anyone wanting help the students who lost their pigs and are trying to pay for associated costs can call Corning High School at 824-8000 and ask for Jason Armstrong.