How A “Teacup Pig” Named Ziggy Inspired A North Carolina Couple To Take In Unwanted Farm Animals

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A North Carolina couple were inspired to open their own animal rescue (@ziggysrefuge) all thanks to their pet pig. 

It all started when Kristin Hartness moved to St. John’s in the U.S. Virgin Islands as a fresh-faced college graduate. There, she decided to get a “teacup pig” (AKA mini pig) as a pet, and named him Ziggy.  

However, after Kristin met partner Jay Yontz, they noticed that Ziggy kept growing, and growing, and GROWING—and eventually grew to be almost 300 pounds. 


Ziggy is always so fashionable…. #pig #pigtok #ziggysrefugefarmsanctuary #pigsoftiktok #vegan#fashiontiktok #bow

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The couple realized that “teacup pigs” are a marketing scheme allegedly created by breeders. Unless they are underfed — an alleged technique used to keep pigs small — these pet pigs will not stay “mini” and will gain at least 50 to 150 pounds. In fact, it’s not unusual for them to be almost 300 pounds like Ziggy.  

Unfortunately, Kristin and Jay learned that this misinformation leaves thousands of pigs homeless every year because owners are not prepared to care for an animal that big.  

Though Ziggy was one of the few pigs who got placed with dedicated owners, Kristin and Jay knew they had to take action for the other deserving animals. 

When Kristin, Jay and Ziggy left the islands, they moved into an RV, explored the country, and volunteered with animal rescues and sanctuaries to learn how to care for various types of pets and livestock.  

This experience inspired them to start their own sanctuary that takes in farm animals and livestock who are in danger of being sent to the slaughter or require special needs care.  

In 2016, Kristin and Jay officially founded Ziggy’s Refuge Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit in Providence, North Carolina where all animals — regardless of their status as livestock, food or special needs — can live their lives in comfort and with compassion.  


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The facility offers everything from a lazy river therapy pool, to on-site prosthesis creation for any animal who may need it. 


Family exercise time!!! #ComeDanceWithMe #rescue #fyp #disabledtiktok #PassTheBIC #ScreamItOut

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