Littlest Flood Victim Finds Refuge

Tiny piglet rescued by local residents will live at Farm Sanctuary

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.September 20, 2011 – Natural disasters like the recent flooding in Upstate New York can make even the biggest and strongest among us feel small and vulnerable. So imagine how terrifying a natural disaster must feel for a tiny piglet. Last week, the littlest victim of the region’s massive flooding arrived at the Watkins Glen, New York shelter of Farm Sanctuary (, where she was wrapped in warm blankets and showered with the kind of TLC she will need to overcome her harrowing ordeal.

A local woman, Betty Benjamin, who lives near the flooded town of Wellsburg, was leaving her home to get a birthday present for her granddaughter when she ended up getting a surprise of her own. As Benjamin backed out of her driveway, she spotted a tiny piglet who had struggled up the bank of the fast-flowing, rain-swollen creek in her backyard. Understandably terrified, the piglet ran from Benjamin and her son as they tried to catch her. After several dashes around the yard, they brought the piglet inside where the shivering baby, whose skin had turned purple, collapsed. A wildlife rehabber for 20 years, Benjamin revived the little one by massaging her. Benjamin’s granddaughter, Marcella, who loves learning everything she can about animals, fell instantly for the little pig.

Despite the urgings of her granddaughter to keep the piglet, Benjamin and her son decided it would be best for the littlest flood victim, who one day will weigh hundreds of pounds, to live at Farm Sanctuary’s Watkins Glen farm animal shelter. “Several years ago, we rescued another lost piglet and took him to Farm Sanctuary. This little one displayed so much will to live; we knew she deserved to go to a place where she could be free from fear and harm,” says Benjamin.

“When natural disasters strike, farm animals are generally the largest population of victims,” says Farm Sanctuary National Shelter Director Susie Coston, “but because they are viewed as production units by the food industry, instead of as intelligent and emotional individuals, their suffering is typically ignored.”

Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, rescues abused and neglected farm animals and manages farm animal shelters in New York, Northern California and Southern California.  In addition to caring for hundreds of animals, Farm Sanctuary’s facilities receive thousands of visitors every year, so Betty Benjamin and her granddaughter can visit Jane often. Farm Sanctuary also engages in national outreach, education and advocacy work to encourage people to treat farm animals with consideration and compassion and to promote a vegetarian lifestyle.

“It is incredible how this family responded to help Jane, an animal in need. Her courage during the flood and her eager trust in our staff upon her arrival at our shelter proves that farm animals possess a strong will to live and be loved. They are deserving of our consideration and compassion during times of disaster and every day when we make food choices,” Coston concluded.


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