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Abused Pig Rescued

August 7, 1991

URBANA, Ill. (AP) _ Leona is one lucky pig - now the main attraction instead of the main course.

Children at a housing complex had seen a man kick, beat and stash the 40- pound sow in the back seat of a car last month and they promptly reported the incident to police.

″They said the men had kicked it, kneeled on its chest and abused it,″ said Sgt. Mike Bily, who put the pig in a police car.

″I don’t know if the chiefs knew I was hauling a pig around, but it was clean,″ said Bily, who grew up on a hog farm. ″It was lively and a little on the hot side, but so was I.″

The owners, tracked down by Bily in Champaign, gave up rights to Leona after being threatened with citations for animal cruelty, authorities said. A University of Illinois official who lives in rural Champaign and cares for homeless and injured wildlife took her in last weekend.

Leona has since played tirelessly and eaten, well, like a pig.

At the end of the season, Leona will live be taken to the farm of Mike Kirwan, who has promised that she never will become pork chops.

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