An emotional support pig has died after being abducted, when the rental car it was sitting in was stolen and then abandoned in a motel parking lot for more than a day.
Honey, a mini pig, was taken from outside a hotel shortly after a family from California arrived on a visit to Houston, Texas late on Tuesday night.
Mandy Oslin said she had left Honey in the car while she settled her children into the hotel room. When she returned the vehicle and pig were gone.
“We’re devastated for sure,” she told KHOU11 after the theft from outside the La Quinta hotel in Jersey Village. “She’s definitely more than just a pet.”
“It was a horrible introduction to Houston,” Ms Oslin said.
The left occurred early on Wednesday. She explained: “I went outside. Before we went to sleep, we were going to try to get the pig upstairs. So I went outside and the car was just gone with her in it.”
Their rental car was a 2020 black Hyundai Tucson and the family extended their trip to Houston in the hope of finding Honey.
The 180lb pig joined the family at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to help the Oslin children with their anxiety.
“As kind of like a healthy distraction, and we’ve trained her to do all kinds of things. She alerts us if anyone is going to have a panic attack,” Ms Oslin explained.
“Pigs are smarter than dogs, so she can pick up on cues that other animals and even people can’t. So she lets us know when things are about to hit the fan.”
Harris County Sheriff’s Office searched for the vehicle and pig, but informed the family on Thursday night that Honey had died.
A Jersey Village police officer saw Honey, still alive at 3.55am on Thursday in the back of a running car in the parking lot of a Quality Inn, KHOU reported.
As there was no indication that the car had been stolen, the officer told the manager of the hotel, turned off the ignition, and placed the keys beneath the seat in case the owner came back, KPRC reports.
At 5.20pm on Thursday deputies from Precinct 5 were notified about a pig in a closed car and responded immediately.
They found Honey barely alive after so many hours trapped in the hot vehicle, and the pig passed away a short time later.
CCTV footage showing the car’s arrival in the parking lot indicates that the pig may have been in the car for almost a day and a half.
The Sheriff’s Office continues to look for the suspect.