Spotty the pig had a good life.
He was about 3 feet tall and weighed 350 pounds. He enjoyed getting scratched in his pen by his “daddy,” rolling over and getting baths in the yard.
Ten years ago, Billy DeCosta rescued Spotty and raised him like a member of the family. He was bottle- fed and when he was little, Spotty often came into the family’s home. He enjoyed knocking over the dog food container in the garage and chomping on the Pedigree.
For the DeCosta family, the half Hampshire, half Polynesian boar was more than just a pig. He was family,
“I actually saved Spotty by pulling him out of her birth canal, so this was more than just catching a wild pig in the mountains. The mom died giving birth, so Spotty did not know a mom. The mom that he knew was my wife and the dad that he knew was me,” DeCosta said.
During a recent heavy rainstorm, Spotty escaped from his pen. After several days on the lam, Spotty was on his way home when he met his untimely demise.
The day of the storm, DeCosta said his family was busy boarding up their windows and securing their property. That’s when Spotty, who would eventually traverse an area of five miles, escaped.
The boar was first seen near the motorcycle tracks in Omao and a search was initiated, but he was not found.
Spotty was then seen near the ziplines eating snacks with the workers during their lunch break, but he would run away before they would catch him.
A Lawai resident captured Spotty, who was eating snacks in his garage, but the pig escaped again. Two nights before his death, Spotty was seen near the 7-Eleven in Lawai, but vanished before DeCosta arrived.
“He eventually traveled from the 7-Eleven in Lawai across the way, there’s electric power on the ridge behind the Omao Mortuary, and our 10 acres borders the electric power and he was maybe 200 yards from our 10 acres. He was coming home,” DeCosta said.
That’s when Spotty was seen in the driveway of a neighbor.
“He saw the boar in his driveway and he didn’t take the time to maybe go down and understand the demeanor of the boar and he got overly excited to see such a large pig,” DeCosta said.
The neighbor told DeCosta he was mesmerized by such a large pig, so he went into his house to get his gun. When he came back outside, Spotty was still standing in the same spot. The neighbor’s dogs were barking him and Spotty’s hair was standing up on his neck.
Spotty didn’t attack the dogs, but DeCosta said, that’s when the neighbor shot the boar.
After shooting Spotty, DeCosta’s neighbor posted photos of the pig on social media describing him as a large, aggressive, rushing boar. That’s how DeCosta found out his beloved pig had died.
It was a sad moment when the family learned Spotty had been killed.
“We raised the pig since my son was 4 years old and now he’s 14, so Spotty kind of grew up with my son as a pet,” he said.
The most mischievous thing Spotty would do is to go into the garage and knock over the barrel of Pedigree dog food DeCosta used to feed his dogs.
“He would sit there and chomp dry dog food,” DeCosta said.
Spotty was also featured as a wild boar in a Weather Channel documentary about Mt. Waialeale.
“So he was a little famous, he earned up a little revenue and he was living out his adult life in Omao,” DeCosta said.
Through social media, DeCosta ended up meeting the man who killed Spotty.
“We ended up talking, shaking hands, he apologized, I think he learned a valuable lesson,” DeCosta said.
“It was two local guys working out a problem and keeping peace in the neighborhood. I think it’s really important that we live on a unique island and I think Kauai has really beautiful people and I think we have to continue to role model that example,” he said.
DeCosta said that’s how he thinks his dad would have wanted him to handle the situation.
“I want to show my sons how to handle their problems, how to do it the old-fashioned way,” he said.
Because of where they live, DeCosta said there’s often hunters in the area. He and his family are avid hunters, but he always teaches his sons that you don’t shoot something until you know exactly what it is.
Though he was disappointed his neighbor didn’t take it upon himself to consider that the pig might have been lost, the bad situation ended amicably.
Spotty was made into smoked meat by the man who shot him, DeCosta said.
“Personally, that is the best situation — Spotty fed a family for months,” he said.