HERRIN (WSIL) — Herrin is well-known for its HerrinFesta Italiana, but lately the town is also drawing attention for another reason.
The talk of Herrin has four legs, and oinks.
Herrin residents have reported sightings of "Porkchop the Pig" for the past several months.
News 3’s Emily Manley finally got an up close and personal look at the elusive swine.
Porkchop is a large potbelly pig that has taken over the streets of Herrin.
Herrin resident Rebecca Potter started Porkchop’s Facebook page as a joke.
"Some of my friends on Facebook were seeing this pig in the neighborhood and were posting pictures on Facebook and I just thought it would be funny to make this pig a Facebook page," Potter said.
Porkchop now has more than 2,400 followers.
"Some of of the people on the Facebook page are from the Netherlands, Canada and Mexico," Herrin resident Joann Clayton said. "It’s a big deal."
"They are obsessed," Potter said. "It’s a pig cult. We started a pig cult."
When asked if she ever thought the joke would be what it is now, Potter just laughed.
"Oh God no," Potter said. "I can’t believe what’s happened with it. Pig spotting is a sport in Herrin now."
Three-year-old Ayla also loves to see the pig.
"It keeps coming back again and again," Ayla said.
News 3 went out searching for Porkchop and found him in Clayton’s yard.
"I thought it was just a Halloween gag and someone let their pet out," Clayton said.
But no one seems to know where she came from.
"I called city hall to report her and they said it belongs to a farmer, but the farmer never came to claim her.
Joann said she feeds Porkchop once a day.
Herrin Mayor Steve Frattini called the pig a citizen.
"He just doesn’t pay taxes," Frattini said laughing. "But he lives and eat here."
Frattini said at first the city received a few calls about the pig.
"We’ve made number of attempts to take him into custody as so to speak," Frattini said.
Frattini said animal control has tried to capture the pig, but they haven’t had any luck.
He said it’s not truly up to animal control because they don’t have the right equipment, it would be up to the Department of Agriculture to capture Porkchop.
"We can handle dogs and cats, but any wildlife or other animals we aren’t allowed to take," Frattini said.
So for now, Frattini said there’s no reason to take any action to remove Porkchop from the streets of Herrin.
"Right now, they would probably burn city hall down if we try to do anything to capture her or take her out of the neighborhood," Frattini said.
Porkchop’s Facebook page is a private page, but you can request to join it.
Click here to find Porkchop’s page.