Washington family sues butcher who killed pet pigs while in the wrong house

Natalie Gray remembers her arrival which hosted a shocking spectacle last month. A large truck and a stranger were in his yard. Nearby, his family’s pet pigs, Betty and Patty, lay dead.

When Gray confronted the stranger, they both realized that a fatal mistake had occurred.

A nearby butcher’s shop had received a request from a man wanting to turn his two pigs into meat. The customer was away, so he asked butcher Jonathan Hines to come through his gate and slaughter the pigs behind his barn, Hines told the Washington Post.

So Hines and a friend drove to a house in Port Orchard, Washington, on May 1, when he located two pigs on a farm and shot them with a gun, he said. It wasn’t until Gray and Hines spoke a few minutes later, he said, that he realized he had taken a wrong turn during the short trip — a right turn instead of from the left. He was at someone else’s house House.

The pigs he killed were not intended for slaughter; Gray and her husband, Nathan, kept them as pets.

The Grays alleged in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Hines, 29, and his friend “recklessly inflicted severe and severe emotional distress” on their family, and they are seeking damages. “representing the intrinsic value of Betty and Patty.” The complaint also names the butcher shop Hines works for, farmer George Meats, and his friend Dillon Baker, as defendants.

An incident report from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said there was no “maliciousness” in Hines’ actions and that he did not intend to shoot the Grays’ pigs.

Nonetheless, the incident left the Grays – and Hines – devastated.

“Walking around the corner and seeing these animals that are supposed to live their lives with you… it was very emotional,” Natalie, 38, told the Post. last month.

When Hines realized his mistake around the same time, he said his “heart broke.” He remembers apologizing to Gray.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Hines said. “I was just sitting there in shock.”

Joseph Keehn, who runs Farmer George Meats with his wife, said he also apologized to the Grays, calling the incident “a perfect storm of error” but that there was “no no malice.”

Baker, 30, said he did not shoot the pigs, a report also written by Hines. The sheriff’s office report did not list Baker as a suspect and said he was only there to “assist” Hines.

Hines, Keehn and Baker spoke with The Post in mid-May. Reached after the complaint was filed, Hines said in a text message that he was still employed by Farmer George Meats, but did not provide additional comment. Keehn and Baker did not respond to requests for additional comment Sunday.

This isn’t the first time an animal has been killed after someone went to the wrong place. In Waco, Texas, last year, and in Faulkner County, Ark., in 2020, a law enforcement officer shot and killed a dog after showing up at the wrong address. In February, a Birmingham, Alabama, woman told WBRC that a delivery truck driver who had “no reason” to be on her property shot her dog.

Natalie and Nathan have operated a seven-acre farm for almost a decade, but only use it to raise pets. They have dogs, cats, ducks and chickens, and when Natalie saw a photo of two Kunekune piglets posted by a local breeder on social media in 2022, she wanted them too.

Natalie said she and her daughters loved tickling Betty and Patty’s bellies until they rolled onto their side. Natalie sang “You Are My Sunshine” to them and gave the piglet sisters candy for their birthday on January 3. Betty and Patty loved it when Natalie sprayed whipped cream in their mouths, she said.

Every morning, before taking her 12- and 9-year-old daughters to school, Natalie said she visits Betty and Patty, scrubbing and feeding them. After Natalie returned home in the afternoon, Betty and Patty screamed with excitement when they heard Natalie’s voice.

Nathan said he left the gate to the house open on May 1st. while he was running an errand. About 30 minutes later, he said, his home’s security system sent him a phone alert showing a white box truck on his property. Natalie said she saw in the footage someone near the pig pen, which they shared with eight ducks.

Natalie said she rushed home after leaving the nearby primary school where she works.

“Who are you?” Natalie remembers asking Hines, who said he initially thought Natalie’s question was a joke.

After Natalie saw that Betty and Patty had been killed, she called 911 around 1:30 p.m. “I felt sick to my stomach,” Natalie said.

Kunekune pigs typically live between 15 and 20 years, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Betty and Patty were both 2 years old when they died.

When a sheriff’s deputy arrived later that afternoon, Hines told him that he had not put the correct address into his GPS system and had not verified the address at his arrival, according to the office’s incident report.

The Grays put their street number on their house, mailbox and gate, according to their lawsuit filed in Washington Superior Court in Kitsap County. Hines said if the Grays had closed their gate, he wouldn’t have gone to the wrong house.

Nathan asked Hines to clean up the scene. Hines said he and Baker dragged the two pigs, which each weighed about 400 pounds, on a tarp to the woods behind the Grays’ house and shoveled the blood-covered dirt into a trash can in the garage. Hines said they then went to slaughter the two pigs he was supposed to kill across the street.

Before leaving, Hines said, he offered to slaughter the pigs for free, which the Grays refused.

When Natalie and Nathan told their daughters after school that Betty and Patty were dead, the the children stood in shock for a few seconds, Natalie said, before the group embraced. Then their 12-year-old daughter ran into her room and cried.

Nathan, a construction company owner, said he used his shovel that afternoon to bury Betty and Patty in their backyard.

The reality of Betty and Patty’s deaths unfolds the next morning, when Natalie fed her other animals but skipped the pigs’ food. Since May 1, Nathan said their 9-year-old has been afraid to leave the family pets outside for fear someone might kill them. Their daughters designed a makeshift headstone which they placed above where Betty and Patty were buried.

Natalie said she distracted herself from the pain of losing Betty and Patty with her work. But she said her friend recently bought her a necklace designed with a flying pig – a memory that brought back her grief.

“It becomes more manageable,” Natalie said of her pain. “But it will always be there when you lose someone you love.”


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