People accused of stealing pig speak out

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Two people accused of stealing a pig from Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA and killing it are sharing their side of the story.

Courtesy: Pam Rivera

Aymarie Sutter and Lee Oakes, Jr. are charged with theft, animal cruelty and killing livestock, but they claim they didn't do anything wrong.

On July 3, a pig was caught by the Albemarle County Police Department and brought to the SPCA. Sutter was working there that day, and she says police asked her to find a place for the pig.

"They asked me if I knew anyone who wanted the pig, so I called my fiancé," said Sutter.

Her fiancé is Oakes. He did not work for the SPCA, but Sutter thought he would want to use the pig.

"It was July 4 weekend, so I figured we could turn it into some bacon," she said.

"We are going to smoke it on July 4, they told us great, so I called in, so we took it home and took it to our meat processor," said Oakes.

Sutter claims they did this with permission from police, but police have not confirmed that. SPCA official say the pig was stolen, and they reported that immediately to police. Meanwhile, Oakes says he killed the pig humanely that night.

"I didn't want to kill it, but the way you have to is by cutting their throat," he said. "When I was done, I got down on my knees and I prayed for it because I knew that pig suffered, and I didn't want the pig to suffer."

When asked why he thought he could do that, Oakes replied, "The state of Virginia give me the authority."

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, you can hunt wild pigs, or feral hogs. Oakes says it looked like a wild pig to him, but the SPCA says it was a domesticated pig, and regardless, it was on the property.

Police have charged Sutter and Oakes with killing livestock. Oakes is also charged with grand larceny in Augusta County, in a separate incident.

Sutter says she is sad how this all ended up.

"I loved my job at the SPCA," said Sutter. "I have always wanted to work with animals, and I hope these charges can be dropped so I can get back to work."

The Albemarle County Police Department and the county Commonwealth's Attorney declined to comment on this because it is an ongoing investigation.

Oakes and Sutter are due back in court on Aug. 25.

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