By Jaime North

The Daily Item

BEAVER SPRINGS — Thieves broke into a Snyder County barn containing 2,000 hogs, took eight of the 16-week-old animals and slaughtered six of them in a nearby field.

In almost 50 years of farming, John Stone, 66, of Beaver Springs, said he's never experienced anything similar and can think only that the economy is to blame.

"Things must be getting really bad if people are doing stuff like this for food," said Stone, who found six piles of entrails at the end of a trail of tire tracks a half-mile from the barn. "They busted the (barn) lock to get in and must have took the pigs to the back of the barn to the loading area. We found small tracks, what looked to be 8 inches wide and not too far apart. I followed the tracks to the east end of the field, where I found blood and guts."

Stone, who raises between 2,000 and 4,000 pigs at a time for Country View Family Farms, said the 90-pound pigs — valued at $100 each — were discovered missing from a pen Saturday morning during feeding.

Stone and an employee then discovered small tire tracks next to the barn, which led through an adjacent alfalfa field and to an area where the suspects allegedly slaughtered all but two of the pigs.

According to Stone, it was evident during the 8 a.m. feeding that pigs were missing. State police at Selinsgrove say the crime occurred sometime between 5 p.m. Friday and into Saturday.

"We have 25 pigs to a pen," Stone said. "When you're going down (the row) you can see the difference. That pen was not as thick with pigs. When we counted to make sure, we noticed eight pigs were missing."

Stone said the young pigs would have been much easier to handle than the market-ready hogs at the farm.

"I don't know why anyone would do this," Stone said. "I guess they were hungry."

According to Stone, the suspects would have gotten between 50 to 60 pounds of meat from each pig.

Country View Family Farms has contracts with more than 100 farms in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. The agribusiness infuses nearly $12 million a year into rural communities, according to the corporate Web site. Anyone with information can call state police at 374-8145.

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