Police investigate illegal hog farm on city property, find more than 100 pigs living in ‘deplorable conditions’

VIRGINIA BEACH — Police are investigating an illegal hog farm on city property.

Police spokeswoman Tonya Pierce said Thursday that officers from the animal enforcement unit, among others, are caring for and feeding more than 100 pigs that they found living in deplorable conditions until they know what to do with them.

The farm is in a field near the 2800 block of Salem Road, she said. The hogs ranged in size from piglets to larger than 300 pounds, she said.

No arrest has been made and police are still determining which charges will be brought, she said.

“It’s weird,” she said, “It’s pretty odd.”

Police learned of the farm Tuesday. They are investigating how long the it has been operating and for what purpose.

State Del. Barry Knight, a hog farmer who represents southern and rural areas of the city, said the only reason to raise pigs would be for their meat.

Knight, one of Virginia Beach’s few hog farmers, said no one asks where pigs come from unless they cross state lines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspects carcasses at slaughterhouses, he added.

Sows can have 20 to 24 piglets a year, Knight said. That means the farmer could have gone from a small number of pigs to more than 100 in 2015 alone.

The city rents out farmland. If there were a legitimate farm in the Salem Road area that police are working, Knight said he’d know about it.

“It could be a number of scenarios,” he said. “But it sure sounds strange.”

Knight said he hopes the pigs are being well care for.

Police are working to relocate the hogs so they can be medically evaluated, Pierce said.

Have a story idea or news tip? Contact city hall reporter Judah Taylor at Judah@SouthsideDaily.com or 757-490-2750.

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