The Livestock Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has warned against the risks of unexpected attacks on people by sows when with suckling piglets.
The advice is in response to a surprise attack on a man by a sow that kept him in hospital for two weeks from serious injuries.
The man was repoortedly weeding on his backyard food gardern when the mother pig struck.
The sow reportedly belonged to one of the neighbours and was chased by dogs of another neighbour.
The man was trying to chase the pig from his garden patch when the pig turned on him and bit both his legs.
ACEO of Livestock Aiolupotea Toni Aiolupotea advises people with pigs to put their animals in a pen where they are kept out of harms way or from doing harm.
Aiolupotea said the man was probably attacked by a sow ( female pig) with young piglets.
A sow with baby piglets does not want anyone or anything near or touch her piglets Aiolupotea explained.
“ She can be very aggressive. This probably happened in this case as it was being chased by the dogs and ended up attacking this man.
“ So it is important that the pigs should be put in a pigsty and kept there so that the owner can look after the mother pig and piglets better .
“Once they are outside one cannot have control over them and they can get aggressive and liable to attack people.”
Aiolupotea said that people are safe near a sow only when the piglets are about 12 weeks old or when they have grown.
He added that an attack on a person by a domesticated pig is very rare. But they know of attacks by wild pigs on people who ended up in hospital with serious injuries.
He also explained that wild and domesticated pigs have sharp teeth and they can cause serious injuries if their teeth cuts deep into the flesh.
There are two sharp tusks in a pigs mouth that can do serious harm in an attack.
“Domesticated pigs are usually killed for food before their dangerous tusks are fully developed.”
Aiolupotea said because of the harm these two sharp teeth can cause the Livestock Division runs a programme for the pig farmers to remove them.
The Ministry can also do this for the people who keep pigs and all they do is to ring the Livestock Division and they would come and do it.
Aiolupotea also cautions not to allow the young children to feed or play with the piglets while the mother is around because they are prone to an attack.
He also pointed out that pig’s teeth are dirty and have bacteria which could get into the human body when the bite is deep.