Service pig accidentally killed by deputy
For a Fuquay-Varina family, a typical pet simply wouldn't do. Their beloved Blue wasn't a cute and cuddly kitten or dog, he wasn't covered in fur and he didn't play fetch.
Blue was a pot-bellied pig, and the Sickles family misses him.
"We all loved Blue, and Blue loved us," said Steven Sickles.
An off-duty Wake County sheriff's deputy shot and killed Blue with a bow and arrow last week because he thought the animal was a wild boar. Blue had gotten out of his pen and walked into the neighbor's yard.
"(The neighbor) said, 'I have two kids and I will not let them go down there because I know what a wild boar can do,'" Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Wednesday.
Then, the neighbor called another neighbor, an off-duty sheriff's deputy.
"He did shoot the pig with a bow and arrow," Harrison said. "It is tragic. He hates it; no one hates it worse than he does."
The deputy, whose name was not released, did not violate any laws, Harrison said.
The pig was a service animal; he was specially trained to help Nicole Sickles deal with a medical condition that caused her to have seizures.
"He would immediately be next to me, or sense it and come running," said Nicole Sickles.
Blue also helped with the development of the Sickles' 5-year-old son, who has Down's syndrome.
"It was 11 years. It felt like a lifetime. So many emotions I can't describe," said Nicole Sickles.
Pot-bellied pigs can be domesticated. They are smaller than boars and most often do not have teeth. Boars are known to be aggressive.
Although they miss their pet, the Sickles family said they forgive the deputy.
"He has been nothing but remorseful for his actions," Nicole Sickles said.
Attempts to contact the deputy were unsuccessful.
The Sickles family says the deputy offered to buy them a new pig, but they declined.