Potbellied pig delays ADOT’s efforts to clear land meant for State Route 30 in Avondale

Jan 26, 2024, 2:00 PM

PHOENIX — A potbellied pig took workers and volunteers with the Arizona Department of Transportation on a weekslong adventure last year, officials announced Friday.

In November, Pixie the pig was found wandering along a corridor of land ADOT bought in 2023. The department plans to turn the area into a future highway: State Route 30 in Avondale.

Officials needed to clear the buildings on the property to make way for SR 30, which meant Pixie needed to leave. Nonprofit volunteers with the Humane Animal Rescue & Trapping Team (HARTT) took on the task of moving her to a new home.

However, it took weeks for volunteers and ADOT workers to humanely move her out, according to HARTT team leader Carrianne Frary.

“We were able to get her close to a humane trap but never in it,” Frary said in an ADOT blog post.

Efforts to lure Pixie into a trap with food took so long an ADOT administrator had to arrange for structure removal to be postponed.

“I spent more on her food than my own,” Frary said. “Her favorite was Cheerios. We added donuts, strawberries and other snacks to her diet.”

Potbellied pig takes her sweet time leaving ADOT property

Pixie wasn’t the only animal helping herself to the food volunteers were putting out. An around-the-clock video camera meant to track her caught other critters enjoying the free lunches, like:

– Half a dozen javelinas.
– A skunk.
– Several raccoons.
– One “incredibly large” cat.

It was time for another plan. HARTT volunteers and an ADOT engineer-in-training named Jakob Rassi repurposed a pen for chickens by adding a special door triggered by a laser beam. They snatched Pixie just before Christmas.

After that, the team brought Pixie to a Cave Creek ranch operated by Better Piggies Rescue.

Rescue founder Danielle Betterman said Pixie is doing very well in her new home.

“She has several other friends on our property, including some of our older pigs,” Betterman said. “She has a lot of life left in her.”

Officials cleared the property Pixie previously roamed around, making way for SR 30.

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Potbellied pig delays ADOT’s efforts to clear land meant for State Route 30 in Avondale