Crime

Pigs freed in burglary at Johansen FFA farm hurt one another. Feed, maybe rabbits taken

Despite what some Johansen High FFA students believe may be mean-spirited pranks, injured livestock should be fine come showtime at the Stanislaus County Fair, their teacher said.

Sometime Sunday night, one person or more apparently scaled a fence or cinder-block wall to get into the farm area at the school off Claus Road. Pigs were released from their pens into a small gated area where, not used to mixing with one another, they fought, instructor Dustin Parson said Tuesday morning. Sheep also were released but did not scuffle.

Some of the pigs suffered lacerations and contusions. A post on a Facebook group page said the pigs were beaten by the intruders, but Parson said that definitely is not the case.

Visible injuries and limps in their gait could count against the animals, and consequently the students who raised them, in county fair judging, said a parent who was at the campus farm Tuesday. But Parson said antibiotic ointment is being used to treat the animals, which heal amazingly quickly and should be fine when they go to the fair this weekend. He said pigs tend to baby their injuries, so may have a limp one day, then no trace of it the next.

Student Melissa Grenig showed lacerations on her pig, which she said she’s been treating with hydrogen peroxide. She believes the pig will be in good shape for judging. “I have to loosen her up a little more,” she said. “She did get really tense, and when they get tense, they walk a little funny, a little slow, and that’s not what I want.”

She said the scratches are minor, like cat scratches, and appear to be healing well. “I think she’ll be fine.”

Also Sunday, four show rabbits were released, and two may have been stolen along with their cage, Parson said. Two were found still on the farm property, and the missing two may have escaped or still been in the cage when it was taken.

Whoever got into the farm area took sheep and pig feed, Parson said. The parent at the farm Tuesday, who did not want his name used, said the feed theft hits students directly because they pay for such materials themselves.

Parson said police have been notified of the burglary, and a report is being filed.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636. Callers can remain anonymous, and tips also can be submitted via www.stancrimetips.org.

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Deke has been an editor and reporter with The Modesto Bee since 1995. He currently does breaking-news, education and human-interest reporting. A Beyer High grad, he studied geology and journalism at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.
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