Houston, TX

It’s Triplets for Juno, Houston SPCA’s Potbelly Pig - And You Can Name Them

Betsy Denson

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Juno at her maternity shootHouston SPCA

Ever since the Houston SPCA took in a pregnant Vietnamese potbelly pig in December, the staff has been preparing for her to give birth.

Juno, named for the Goddess of Love, Marriage, and Childbirth, got styled for a maternity shoot and was fed snacks to keep her still for her ultrasounds. Of course, she couldn't have gotten far as her belly was dragging the ground.

The big day came on January 20th, as Juno gave birth to three healthy pigs.

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Juno and her babiesHouston SPCA

The SPCA said that staff have been fortifying Juno with fruit to help her care for the piglets. For a time, they were all visible on Juno's YouTube live stream but now the babies have been removed.

From the SPCA Facebook page:

The piglets have been brought indoors to an incubator for closer monitoring and hand feeding. The babies weren't thriving with Mom so we decided out of an abundance of caution to keep them under close veterinary care.

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Juno's piglets in an incubatorHouston SPCA Facebook page

Viewers can still watch Juno 12 hours a day on the Houston SPCA YouTube Channel. She seems to be enjoying her hay-covered den and wags her tail at any visitors. She also sleeps a lot, and what new mother doesn't want to do that?

It is estimated that there are between 250,000 to 1 million potbelly pigs kept as pets in the United States and while having one was once all the rage, the bloom seems to have worn off. A study by Ohio State said that many are giving up their pigs - and not always to a humane organization.

The college's survey of 802 humane organizations in seven states found that they got 4,380 requests to accept potbellied pigs during a recent 18-month period. They accepted 72 percent of these pigs. Unfortunately, they also discovered that 485 slaughterhouses received 4,047 requests to slaughter potbellied pigs during the same period.

"I don't think there's any question that there is a problem with unwanted potbellied pigs in the United States," said Linda Lord, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University. "Unfortunately, a lot of people who get potbellied pigs as pets aren't prepared for how big they can get or don't know how to deal with them."

It is sad to think of a pig as friendly as Juno being slaughtered, or just turned out to fend for itself, because its owner had second thoughts. Humane organizations like the Houston SPCA serve a needed purpose in saving these animals.

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Juno at her maternity shootHouston SPCA

The SPCA is currently taking name suggestions for the babies. Some ideas so far include Cupid, Valentine, and Rose and Piggly, Wiggly, and Giggly. Add your suggestion to the mix on their Facebook page.

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