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Pig appears to taunt his would-be Iowa captors

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Des Moines Register
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 5:18 p.m.
 

DES MOINES — A lowly yet crafty porker, apparently named Willie, has run amok since June through several blocks of an east side neighborhood.

The city's animal control unit has been in hot pursuit for a couple of weeks. Some swear Willie has escaped from traps.

The sly swine has been nicknamed “Little Bulldozer” and less flattering — or just plain unprintable — names for the way he roots along driveways and fences. He shaves off grass and leaves more bare, churned earth than your average mole.

Neighbors, who have been knocking on doors on their streets to find the owner, have swapped pig tales in their driveways, cursing the beast, only to spot Willie plopped in the sun a mere 40 feet away as if mocking them. But he darts off as soon as a broom or rake can be grabbed in an effort to corral him.

“That pig is pretty darn smart,” said Art King as he lingered in the swing in his driveway. “I've seen it several times today.”

The city's animal control unit has positioned a giant trap that residents have helped bait with table scraps.

Some neighbors have talked of stalking Willie with a bow and arrow, but Dee Bowers wants to see the black-hided pot-bellied pig unharmed and captured before the chill of winter gives him pneumonia. She even paid to publish an ad this week in the lost-and-found listings.

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