Forgotten Angels Rescue & Education Center





















LaBelle, Florida Rescue

By Lana Hollenback
March 15, 2002

Pigs were everywhere you looked along with a couple dogs, one billy goat and chickens and a few roosters. Instead of 25 to 30 pigs, we counted around 70!  Owner stated he had just given away his two largest boars. They went to farmers for the freezer.

Owner stated he started with two pigs but can't remember when. All pigs are small and inbred. Most of the sows are pregnant, even the babies around 5 months old maybe as young as 4 months. All covered in mange and hog lice. All in really bad condition. Many babies looked to be under a month old. I am numb with disbelief.

UPDATE!! (3/20/2002)

Well the rescue is moving right along. Went out today with Drew and met with a Sheriff deputy who is going to bring out trustee's on Friday, March 22nd to build the pen. What a blessing that is. Also have a vet going to neuter all the boars for cost. He will do 5 each Tuesday until they are all done.

On March 30th we need more volunteers to come help round them up. We will be giving vaccines, worming and whatever to all the sows, babies and boars that day. We need some strong women and men. It will be a long day.

We also need feed and hay.  If anyone wants to help out in this area I will be posting the name of the feed stored as soon as I know where we are going to get it. Should be later today or tomorrow.  We are also in need of pools, watering tubs and scrap lumber to build feeding troughs with.

Here is a picture of one of the babies. We brought it home or I should say Drew and LaShawnda did. I was worried about it and so he went back and caught it. It is 3 1/2 months old and weighs 3#. Picture doesn't show the mange but it is covered. It is a little male and so sweet.

We have homes for close to 30 but will need a transporter with a truck and horse trailer. We are willing to pay daily plus fuel if anyone knows anyone who might be willing to do this for us. They will be going to AZ and from there others will be picking them up. Just let me know.

Special thanks to:
Henry County Sheriff's Department
Lee Co Animal Services
Caloosa Humane Society of Henry Co
Affordable Spay and Neuter Clinic
LaBelle Dog Rescue
Weema Lowery and Joyce Adams and her husband
Futrals Feed Store
LaBelle Ranch Supplies

All of these are working with us here locally  and without them, this rescue would never happen.

UPDATE!! (4/2/2002)


Well we had a day and a half. We now know we have a total of 75 pigs of which 28 are boars but we also have some boar babies.  Don't have a number on those but had 15 babies all about 4 to 5 months old and about 6 to 8#.

Well when we got over to the pen with the sows, the man didn't have the chicken wire up around the bottom. Then we ran out. They had to run buy some at Ace Hardware and as they were getting it, a fire broke out so they only got 2 parcel rolls which still left us 100 ft short so back for more wire. Two babies got out but are staying close to the pen and Joyce is leaving food out for them near the gate and Elaine left her net so hopefully by tomorrow they will be inside the pen instead of out.

Elaine is headed home with 13 sows of which we think are pregnant. Darlynne has take a sick baby home to get to a vet.

Many thanks to Lynne Boismeir of Noahs Ark, Micheal and Judy Garrett, Butch and Darlynne, Elaine, Drew and LaShawnda Hollenback, Cris, and Joyce and her husband and neighbors and grandkids, Weemia Lowery, and two other ladies whose name I have forgottten. It was a long hard day for all of the above. They all jumped in and worked a miracle in spite of the odds. I have a couple pictures as I didn't take many as I was busy filling syringes but Elaine filmed.

One thing we all agreed on, was that it was a very bad place for pigs. The home unbelievable and a dead puppy in the living room. LaShawnda and Drew brought home one 1 wk old puppy who is not doing good and some older ones to try and place. You would have had to have been there to understand just how horrible it was.  And Lynne found a jaw bone of one pig in the back yard. And we still have to get the boars to a safe place quickly. We have a pledge for a pen for them but need to find a place or land owner willing to let us put it up for a couple months while we get them neutered and vetted.

All received vaccines and wormer today and was sprayed for lice. I can't thank this crew enough. I mean they all worked so hard and so long. So lets hear it for the miracle rescue team who went way beyond the call of duty.

On 3/31/02  One sow delivered 5 babies of which one died. Two more sows have been place with people from LaBelle Animal Rescue. Goat has found a home in N Ft Myers. One puppy placed and five more need homes. They are being vetted with wormer, vaccines and flea control this week.

UPDATE!! (4/14/2002)

Well just got in from getting the boars and thought I'd do a quick update.  When we got there one boar had died yesterday, probably from dog bite from a few days ago although I couldn't see a bad mark on him but couldn't see too much as he had a zillion flies on him. Susan from Caloosa Human Society and her helper buried him while we waited for Drew and them to get there. Ernesto showed up with his horse trailer.  Mary and her brother had trapped all but four of the pigs so it was just a matter of transferring them to Ernesto's horse trailer. Drew and Chris were ready to go and soon all were caught and loaded. We transferred them to the Alva pen at Martha's place and when Dick and I left, they were lazing in the sun and pools.  I think they were impressed with their new surroundings.  One pig has a very bad gash on his forehead. I am concerned about it so I'm going to see if Susan can give him a shot of LA200 tomorrow evening when she gets off work.  Sampson is  a delight. He is the oldest and is going on 10 yrs old. He is black with a white tuff on the end of his tail, white belly and four white feet. He is just beautiful. He and Lucy will be spending out their days with the Tanners together. They have been together for over 7 yrs and are the grandparents to every pig out there.

We now have secured homes for all the original pigs but still will be placing babies. We have 16 new ones on the ground in Jacksonville and doing great. A couple more mammas about ready to deliver.  We have 29 boars left to neuter and about 30 sows.

Susan from Caloosa HS has agreed to help take the boars in for neutering if LaShawnda and I go tend the HS and feed and water. What a deal.

Many many thanks to all who have come forward with offers of help in any form. You are all appreciated.

UPDATE!! (4/29/2002)

Well things are starting to move now for the pigs. Two of the oldest sows are scheduled for spaying on 4/30 and all the boars will be neutered on or about May 18, 2002. A hauler has been located and arrangements are now being made.

We have lost some of our homes for various reasons, so we are still searching for homes for 19 sows here in Fort Myers and then we have the 14 sows in Jacksonville with 16 babies still needing spaying and homes.

Here is a list of sanctuaries taking some of the LaBelle Rescue pigs. Ironwood, Pigs*A*Lot, St Matilda's, PigASus and Critter Farms in Utah.  Three will be going to a private farm in TX and one in LA. These will be the first pigs shipped out.

We've had a hard time containing the boars but we finally got a hot wire up and working so hopefully they are safe now until we can move them out. If you can help find a home for one pig or more, please contact us. We can't do this unless we all pull together as a community of pig lovers.

UPDATE!! (5/14/2002)

May 11th found us out at the boar pen in Alva to start neutering. Those who were there are as follows.  Dr.Keely Smith, Lynne Boismier of Noah's Ark in New Port Richey FL, Tom Frederick of Social Swine Shelter, Drew Hollenback and Kevin Jones  Marty Shackleton who owns the property and myself.  We neutered all but six of the boars and lost two on the table. Possible bad hearts due to age and inbreeding. It was so sad.  Lil old man was first. We had neutered 7 or 8 and then they brought him up. Got him on the table and started. Then he was gone. Lynne and Dr Smith tried everything, but he was just gone. We guesstimated him to be 5 or 6 yrs old and he was 42#. So cute and so small for his age. Dr Smith believes it may have been a bad heart. I couldn't quit crying and then they brought in another one about the same age and size. Just got the mask on him and his heart stopped. Again they tried everything and for a minute we thought he'd pull through. They got his heart to beating by mouth to mouth and CPR but then he just died. By then I was totally out of it. Couldn't believe we lost two in a row and I was so scared with each one after that but all the others did great, including Sampson who is 10 yrs old. He was awake before they finished. I realize these are highly inbred but it is so sad to try and save one and have it die.

We ended the day with 3 getting out in the cow pasture but we managed to get 2 back in. The other one was coming up wanting into eat but the cows kept getting in the way. Marty is sure he'll be back and wanting in first thing in the morning. He is not going far and we will be there at day break as we want to finish before it gets hot.

Well, day 2 is over and all males have been neutered with the exception of 3 suspect crypts. I say suspect because we sent five this past Tuesday to the affordable spay and neuter and today we removed a testical from one. Whoaaaa there...yep that is right. They had only removed one side. Now we have three more that looks like crypt's but maybe not. They are sporting stitches but also what looks to be one testicle left. So are they crypt or dr. error???? Dr Smith and Lynne took them home with them to check them out.

We had one spike a fever of 105 while on the table but Lynne quickly responded by putting cold wet towels on him to cool him down and he is up and eating and fine when we left today. Sure can scare the crap out of a person.  One other old one about 5 to 7 had a bad time after surgery and wouldn't drink although he was hot and stressed.  Lynne pour some water on him and soon he was up and drinking and walking around.

During the day 4 broke through the gate while Drew and Kevin had gone to LaBelle to pick up the 2 sows going west and the 3 babies which have homes out west. We waited for Drew to come back and soon they had them all back up in the pens. When we left, they were all up and eating and doing fine.

Blood testing was done on Monday May 6 and results were back today May 14. All negative. Dr. Anja Kordon will be meeting me in Alva  FL where the pigs are to do the health certificates tomorrow on May 15th.  Hauler will be here on the 18th to pick them up and head west if all goes as planned.

Now just one more story of love to share. I had wondered if Lucy and Sampson would remember each other since they have now been separated since the 12th of March. Also Izzy, their first generation daughter came with Lucy. YEP they all knew each other. No fighting and soon Lucy and Sampson were snuggled down in the hay overlooking all the other piggies in the pen. Three of the youngest piggies going west laid right down next to them. What a picture of love that was. Made the whole weekend well worth it to see them together again.

I more story. As each pig was neutered and laid back in the stall with the others awaiting surgery, the ones waiting all went and checked them out as they laid sleeping and then one or two would snuggle down with them until they woke up. You just have to love the commitment they have for each other. So heart warming. Made my Mother's Day just great.

UPDATE!! (5/23/2002)

We shipped 27 from here and 11 babies from Jacksonville to new homes.. Two went to LA and arrived safe and are being spoiled rotten; 3 went to Salad Fork Ranch in TX and they are doing great. All others are now in AZ. They arrived last night and all is well and they survived the trip with little signs of wear but was happy to get unloaded and into pools. The babies are doing great and will continue on to CO tomorrow or Friday. All were spayed and neutered before being shipped. God blessed us all along the way by temperatures being cooler than normal which was great for the pigs.

I am having a small female spayed this Friday and she has a home here close in Leigh Acres to a young family who lost theirs last year due to illness and have missed having a pig. We are working on transporting the last seven males which have been neutered up to Jacksonville where they will await a good home. One of the ones going has a bad heart and we need a very special home for him along with one of his siblings so he won't have separation stress. If anyone is close and can give a couple a good loving home, please contact me. He is so precious.

That leaves me with 18 females to spay and place down here in LaBelle. Problem is that we are out of funds and can only spay now as they are placed. I do have homes for 10 if I can get them spayed by July and then I will transport them north myself in Aug or Sept. after my surgery and therapy is over. Out of these 18 we do have one ready to have babies and maybe one more.

Elaine in Jacksonville still has 14 females and 21 babies. More babies on the way. I believe she still has 2 or 3 sows yet to deliver. She will be working to raise the funds to get them all spayed and neutered. The RAM unit of University of FL has agreed to work with her on them so that will cut the cost of spaying some. Great job Elaine.

We are looking to find ways to raise the funds to complete the job of placing each and everyone of these pigs. But because of this, I am unable to help any more locally until this task is completed. If you have not yet ordered your raffle tickets for the South Seas Resort vacation, there is still time. Tickets are $5 or 3 or $10.00. The grand prize is the 3 day, 2 night vacation to Captiva which includes 2 Bush Garden tickets, dinner for two, Sunset Cruise, and a gas voucher. Plus there will be five more prizes. First prize is $100 shopping spree, Second prize is $25 gift certificate to Cosko, Third prize is $25 gift certificate to Sam's or Walmart, forth prize is 4 tickets to FireCats football game or equivalent and Fifth prize is dinner for two. So don't miss out. All funds go to the LaBelle Rescue pigs.

The drawing will be at the Exotic Animal Clinic on Palm Beach Blvd, Ft Myers at 11 am. Veronica Johnson and the vets will be overseeing the drawing as I will be in the hospital and all winners will be notified. Good luck.

Many thanks for all the help we have received so far. To date 48 pigs and piglets have been placed.

UPDATE!! (7/25/2002)

I have two little girls at my house waiting for spaying tomorrow. I am calling them Amazing and Grace for all they have been through.  They have a new home in Punta Gorda, FL and I know they will be a hit with their new owners who are excited about getting them.

Blaze, the sow with the white blaze and blue eyes has a home in central FL and will be going shortly. Hopefully within the next 2 wks.

Auntie, one of the older sows looks pregnant but has looked like that from day one so we suspect a tumor. She will be transported to Noah's Ark and have surgery by Dr. Smith as soon as funds are raised. Dr Smith is kind enough to cut us a break and so if it is not cancerous the total cost should be no more then $175.00.

The last of the 14 sows being kept in foster home in LaBelle will be transported by mid August. We are just waiting for final blood work and funds. Total cost of the shipping is $850.00 and we have $500.00 of it so far. Just need another $300.00 and they can go.  We are working on selling some things to help out. Our funds are down to a big fat "0" but these pigs are worth it.

We have 14 sows and 8 males left in Jacksonville but we do have time for placing those. We also have close to 40 babies but 12 to 15 of them will be shipping out to CO within the next 3 wks if we can work the transport. We have transport through AL and need it on to MO line.  From there we have transport the rest of the way.  You need to be able to haul 2 xlg carriers.

Six pigs found homes from there this past weekend and also some of the babies. I believe we will have about 20 babies left to place. If anyone can foster, adopt or socialize, we sure could use your help.

We have come so far. First we had 75 pigs and then with babies it sky rocketed to over 133 and we are down to 20 pigs and 20 babies. WOW we have come a long long way and I refuse to give up now. These pigs have been through so much and deserve so much more.  Let me know if anyone can help in any way. Thanks to everyone who has helped. No one person could ever  do a rescue this size. It takes all of us working together to save them. THANK YOU ALL.

UPDATE!! (8/26/2002)

Guess it's time to share how far we've come and where we need to get. As a refresher, Back in March we got a call about 25 to 30 pigs. Turned out to be a whole lot more. In fact, it turned out to be 75 pigs and all boars intact and most sows pregnant. We lutalysed most of the sows but some we felt were to far along. We ended up with 68 babies. We raised the funds to neuter all the males and thought we had done them all. Well one little bugger slipped through. But even he is now done and his damage corrected. We ran out of funds before we could spay most of the females and they are being spayed as they are adopted. We still have some babies that also need spayed. Here is where we stand to date.

79 pigs have been placed in either private homes or sanctuaries
47 piglets in 6 foster homes or will be within the next two wks
22 adults waiting for shipping in the spring
148 total pigs

The sad part is that we did lose a few including babies that died shortly after being born. We saved a few babies that were sick and those have good forever homes. In fact, Country Bumpkin, who now lives in a private home in VA has become a "movie star" and will be seen on Miracle Pets real soon. Some we lost during surgeries and some to dogs and other wild animals. Those to dogs and other wild animals escaped out in LaBelle. One we found dead when we had gone back to pick up the boars. Hog dogs all over the place in that area. So sad to lose them and it broke our hearts. The gals from the HS helped to bury those we found while 3 were just never seen again.

I appreciate all who have come forward to help and are still helping. We are still in need of funds to spay the 47 babies held in foster homes. We are presently working on home checks for about 5 of them and they will be spayed before finalizing the adoptions.

The cost of this rescue is through the ceiling. Way more then we ever dreamed. One of our biggest problems that we faced from the beginning is that we are not a sanctuary and had to find foster homes and then build pens. One for the females, one for the boars on different property and still one more for the sows having babies Shelters had to be built, food bought along with bedding and all that before we ever began spaying and neutering. Cost of shipping them was added on top of everything else.  There is no way we could have ever done this alone.  If anyone would care to see the financial report on this rescue, please feel free to write me privately and I'll email or send it to you.

Many thanks to those who have stood with us and encouraged us when we were ready to quit. We can begin now to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully by spring we will have them all placed into good homes and sanctuaries. We still have to get the final spaying's done as funds come in. All males have been neutered and placed. 

Special thanks to the vets who have helped us by cutting us a break both here in Ft Myers (South Trail Animal Hospital and Exotic Animal Clinic) and in Jacksonville area. Thanks to Peggy Couey who has been with us throw this whole rescue and to the Mallory's who have donated hay for those in the LaBelle area. So many people and organizations who have jumped in to help so far. It has been very encouraging to know that people can and do work together to save lives. Thanks to each of you each pig found a home either in a sanctuary or private. Great job by all the volunteers.

Lana Hollenback
Forgotten Angels Resuce & Education Center Inc.

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