A Russian woman faces up to two years behind bars for having eaten her own pig in a bid to avoid paying what she owed in child support, officials said.
The pig had been designated as an asset subject to confiscation unless the woman paid all of what she owed in child support after having lost custody of her 12-year-old daughter.
Her debt currently stands at 300,000 rubles ($4,425), the court marshals service of the far eastern region of Primorye said in a statement Monday.
The statement added that the woman had a history of alcohol abuse, “led a dissolute lifestyle” and generally avoided government officials who tried to summon her to discuss her child support payments.
Following numerous failed attempts to negotiate her debt, a court bailiff arrived at the woman's house and ordered the seizure of a valuable asset: the pig, according to the statement.
The bailiff gave the woman 10 days to come up with the money, vowing to physically confiscate the porker if its owner failed to produce the funds within that timeframe. Meanwhile, the pig was entrusted to the woman's “responsible custody” until the deadline, the statement said.
Apparently unwilling to pay what she owed in child support without a fight, the woman and her partner “slayed the animal and ate it, rather pleased with themselves at having cunningly avoided the sale of the asset,” the statement said.
The woman has been charged with embezzling seized property, which carries a maximum sentence of two years.
Under the current version of the law, animals used for commercial gain can be seized by debt collectors to compel payment, while those kept as simple house pets cannot. However, that law only addresses farm animals, A Just Russia lawmaker Oleg Mikheyev said in comments carried Monday by news agency TASS.
“You have every right to keep a goat at home as long as it's for fun, not for the sale of milk,” Mikheyev told TASS. “But if instead of goats you have a cat, it can be seized without interfering with the law.”
Mikheyev authored a bill seeking to ban the seizure of house pets for debt-collection purposes. The bill has been submitted to the State Duma.