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Florida Keys pigs, chickens fleeing Irma holed up in Seminole suburb

Only thing missing are cats and a pear tree, Sanford homeowner says

SANFORD, Fla. – One by one, they wobbled out of the SUV: 200-hundred pound pigs escaping the wrath of Hurricane Irma hours before the Category 4 storm was set to make landfall at their home in the Florida Keys.

Sanford resident Stacey Aspinwall opened her home Saturday to the pigs, "Mac the Pig" and Albert Eintwine, as well as two chickens evacuating from Big Pine Key. Their owners and a boat came too.

“Ten people, a dog, pigs and chickens,” Aspinwall said laughing. “Just no cats and no pear tree.”

Rebecca Schilling’s pigs and Kristin Livengood’s chickens made the trip up in three cars along with their families, leaving Big Pine Key living late Saturday night.

It was a long trip for the animals and their owners.

“They were really stressed out, the 4-year-old (Albert Eintwine) has arthritis,” Aspinwall said. “One of the chickens laid an egg on the way up too.”

When the entourage arrived in the Sanford subdivision of Sylvan Lake Reserve Saturday evening, getting the pigs out of the car took some creativity. Because the ride was so packed, the pigs’ crate wouldn’t fit, which Schilling normally uses as a platform to walk the pigs out. Instead, the welcoming hosts assisted with a folding table and blankets.

"Mac the Pig" and Albert rest in Sanford, Florida on Sept. 9, 2017 after a more than 8-hour drive from the Florida Keys.
"Mac the Pig" and Albert rest in Sanford, Florida on Sept. 9, 2017 after a more than 8-hour drive from the Florida Keys.

Aspinwall shared video with News 6 showing the small Noah’s Arc squealing and wobbling out of the back of a Toyota Scion. [WATCH THE VIDEO AT THE TOP OF THIS STORY]

Thankfully, the folding table supported the weight of both pigs, each weighing about 200 pounds and they were lowered onto the ground.

During Hurricane Irma the pigs will ride out the storm in the Aspinwall’s garage, now functioning as a pig pen. A neighbor had a chicken coop available for the hens, where they will stay on the porch.

There aren’t any other pigs in the Sylvan Lake neighborhood, probably because they aren’t allowed by the Homeowners Association, Aspinwall said, making Albert and Mac popular visitors.

“The whole neighborhood has come over to enjoy them,” she said. “It’s little petting zoo.”

The celebrity status likely won't rattle Mac the Pig, who has his own Facebook page.

As for the unusual presence of farm animals in the Seminole County suburb, “We’re guessing the governor made a pardon for livestock,” Aspinwall said.

Handlers all over the state have been rushing to secure animals in their care ahead of Irma’s arrival.

Chickens, fleeing Hurricane Irma, arrive in Sanford after an 8-hour drive from Big Pine Key on Sept. 9, 2017.
Chickens, fleeing Hurricane Irma, arrive in Sanford after an 8-hour drive from Big Pine Key on Sept. 9, 2017.

About 250 animals swapped places with inmates of the Key West Jail after the Monroe County Sheriff’s thought jail cells would be safer for the animals.

The Sheriff's Office runs an Animal Farm, housing animals that have been abandoned, abused, confiscated or donated.

Just ahead of Hurricane Irma, 426 inmates were evacuated by bus to lockups in Palm Beach County.

The new population of the Key West jail includes Mo the Sloth and Kramer the Emu, along with horses, pigs, goats, sheep, tropical birds, alligators, snakes, turtles and others.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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