Pet pig transport delays family Thanksgiving

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – A man in the east was separated from his family who packed up and moved all the way to England just before the holidays.

The separation happened because The Castillo family was having trouble clearing the necessary steps to transport their pet pig.

The excitement of bringing an American-style Thanksgiving to their new home across the pond in England was put on hold after husband and Father Ruben Castillo was forces to stay back in Jacksonville with their pet pig Wilbur.

“Moving a pig it’s not like moving a pet you have the requirements of moving a pet but you also have the USDA requirements for agriculture moving livestock and that complicates it 100-fold,” said Ruben Castillo.

From Wilbur being required to have a series of blood tests for things like pseudorabies and other diseases by a USDA accredited vet – all the way down to the dimensions and materials the shipping crate are made out of – Castillo says the USDA and British policies for transporting pet pigs require an isolation period to ensure Wilbur doesn’t have any disease. But the couple says getting to the point of knowing exactly what needed to be done was a bit unclear.

“Then to keep consistently hitting these red tape issues so you lie awake with the little squirrels running around your head going did we check every box? Have we spoken to every authority? Who is the authority,” said wife and mother, Alison Castillo.

Ruben said the USDA requirements prevent Wilbur’s blood from being drawn until the 21-day mark in his isolation period. Once those results come back clear, they get entered into the pig’s health certificate and then it has to be signed by certified health officials.

In the last two days of Wilbur’s isolation, Castillo says there’s supposed to be another health visit just to make sure nothing’s happened since the blood draw.”

Despite the hurdles, the family is determined to be together again once this pig is able to fly.

“We’re very cognizant of the fact that we’re crazy people you know we we own it we have you know our our duty to him as his family and then also selfishly just love him to bits,” said Alison.

Ruben Castillo says vets and both of their fellow friends and colleagues have created a GoFundMe account to help offset some of the extra costs that it will now take to get Wilbur and Ruben on a plane to England.

Ruben says they have gone as far as to send the link to Arnold Schwarzenegger – who they say – is a pet pig owner as well.

The Castillo’s have created a Facebook page called “Wilbur Pig: A Daily Dose” to track Ruben and Wilbur’s remaining steps. and their story has even gained attention from the British Broadcasting Company.