Founder of Laughing Pig Sanctuary discusses Bartow facility’s history and mission

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Annette Wrubleski–founder and president of the Laughing Pig Sanctuary, a refuge in Bartow, Florida providing a permanent home for elderly and abused pigs—recalls moving to her six-acre spread in Bartow, with “a menagerie,” and adding a piglet.

But, back then, she says, she never imagined running a sanctuary, even as she fairly quickly added two more pigs to her household. But it wasn’t long before she began getting contacted by people with pigs—withss mostly rough stories about those pigs.

Sometimes, it was just that the “micro pig” they’d been sold had grown far too large to feed and care for. Other times, Wrubleski was contacted about a pig on the precipice of some dark fate or another —about to be slaughtered, or euthanized, or auctioned off…and, the auctions, of course, often lead to one of those other outcomes.

Wrubleski has often said Yes to those requests, wryly noting about what Laughing Pig has become over the years: “I prefer to be called an assisted living facility for pigs.” Currently, there are 22 pigs residing at this assisted living facility, many of which are potbellied, some are feral, some farm/feral, and so on.

Wrubleski explains she typically receives a request each day to take in one or more pigs, and says she has the capacity to accommodate many such requests. She adds that the operation of Laughing Pig (food, veterinary care, equipment supplies, etc.) is underwritten by donations, though much of the sanctuary is “self-funded,” meaning Wrubleski covers some costs out of her own pocket.

She outlines the informal policy on sanctuary visitors, and for those interested in volunteering at Laughing Pig.