Peripatetic pig captures hearts in Glouco

This photo from the "Fans of 'Kevin Bacon'- Rooting for his safe return" purportedly shows the escaped mascot on the run in the Swedesboro area.
This photo from the "Fans of 'Kevin Bacon'- Rooting for his safe return" purportedly shows the escaped mascot on the run in the Swedesboro area.
Posted: September 19, 2013

WOOLWICH TWP. He's the talk of the town.

Most haven't seen him, though his pink skin tone and tail stick out on the highway from time to time.

But those who have spotted Dubbs, the little pig that has been on the run for two weeks in Woolwich, Swedesboro, and that was last seen in East Greenwich, have failed to corral him.

"People are seeing the pig everywhere, and they can't seem to catch it," said Cassandra Hagstoz, 17, a senior at Kingsway Regional High School in Woolwich.

Hagstoz should know. Dubbs made his way to South Jersey fame after she and a few classmates decided they wanted a mascot for the Class of 2014 to take to football games and the like. They arranged to buy the pig - "a funny, cheap animal," said her coconspirator Shane Murray - on Craigslist.

On Sept. 3, the students drove to Woodstown, N.J., to buy Dubbs for $50 from a farmer. They named the animal for assistant principal Edward Dubbs.

They may have underestimated the pig.

Fifteen minutes after they returned to Murray's house in Swedesboro, Dubbs had escaped.

"He warned us," Hagstoz said of the farmer, whose name she said she could not recall. "He said, 'Watch out. The pig's pretty fast.' "

Murray, Hagstoz, and fellow senior Angel Ekpo had set up a pen before they were to take the pig to another friend's farm in South Harrison. But when Murray went inside to get food and water for Dubbs, the pig hopped the pen and bolted for Locke Avenue, and eventually into the woods.

In the following days, the pig reemerged, sometimes seeming to pose for photographs. Some residents who spotted him, but did not know to whom he belonged, created a Facebook page devoted to the latest sighting. They posted pictures of him chowing down food. And they named him Kevin Bacon, after the actor, a Philadelphia native.

"He is prob the most famous pig besides Babe," one person posted on a page titled "Fans of 'Kevin Bacon' - Rooting for his safe return."

On another Facebook page, a resident who baited the pig with food and snapped a few photographs wrote that he appeared to be a baby, about 16 to 18 inches long.

Buying Dubbs was "definitely worth it," Murray said. "It's all over Facebook."

Last week, Diane Branco, a clerk in Swedesboro, spotted the animal while driving, again on Locke Avenue.

"It was in traffic," she recalled Tuesday, smiling. "I thought it was a little cat. Turns out it was a cute little pig."

Pigs are not foreign to Gloucester County. Deptford used to have pig farms, said Joan Sorbello, owner of Joan's Farm Market, on the border of Woolwich and East Greenwich.

But a pet pig on the loose in 2013 is something else, she said.

The students said a friend's mother took a picture of the pig Tuesday afternoon off Kings Highway, down the road from the market.

The pig's adventures recall the wanderings of the black bear that worked its way through Burlington County in May. It, too, had a strong social media following.

The bear's travels ended in Delran. After a four-hour standoff with police, it was brought down by a tranquilizer shot.

The pig may not be as easy to catch.

"It'll be tough," said Owen Sturm, assistant manager of Gloucester County Animal Control. "It can be tricky. . . . It all depends on the pig. Some are easy, some are hard."

Sturm said the pig was most likely not dangerous. "It can't be that big of a threat if it's running away from you," he said.

Animal Control has not received any calls about the pig. Residents should call 856-881-2828 if they see the pig, Sturm said.

At least one person sees an opportunity for political gain in the pig sweepstakes.

The campaign of Democrat Jennifer Cavallaro, a candidate for Woolwich Township Committee, added its own picture Tuesday afternoon to the Kevin Bacon page.

With the pig in the background, Cavallaro's face is superimposed on nearby grass. "I'll Find the Pork," the message reads. "Jennifer Cavallaro for Woolwich Committee."

She said she had not yet spotted the porker.

Contact Andrew Seidman at 856-779-3846, or @AndrewSeidman on Twitter.

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