Justice for Tank: Karnes City family searching for suspect(s) who killed, slaughtered their mini potbelly pig

It’s a heartbreaking story that’s captivated people on social media. A Facebook page for Tank the Pig has hundreds calling for justice.

KARNES CITY, Texas — A Karnes City family is pushing for animal cruelty charges after their pet pig was found slaughtered and dumped on the side of a city road.

“Tank” was a 2 and-a-half old mini potbelly pig.

Neighbors in Karnes City were used to Tank running around the neighborhood. Tank became a popular resident of Karnes City, having escaped many times. He was photographed by many residents who eventually got him home by calling his owner or posting his picture on social media.

Earlier this month, after Tank’s most recent escape, he was never seen alive again.

“Tank was a very rambunctious pig. He was always happy. I have two dogs he was best friends with. He thought he was a dog,” said Tank’s owner, Mike Rosales. “He’s been everywhere with us. He’s gone on trips with us, he’s gone camping, he’s gone fishing. He’s actually been to a football game, Houston Texans football game.”

Rosales, a two-time Iraq veteran, always wanted a pet pig.

“I’m a dog trainer. That’s what I did in the military, I trained dogs. I was always told that pigs were smart animals,” said Rosales, who served in the Marines.

Two and a half years ago, Rosales found the perfect mini potbelly pig in San Antonio. He bought it for his family and named him Tank.

“He was small, short and stubby, so I picked the name Tank for him,” Rosales explained. “He did not like men around my daughter or on the property. He was very protective of my daughter. He would make them well aware that he was watching them…that was her best friend.”

On Jan. 10, Tank escaped the yard again.

The next day, Hope Cardona-Gutierrez, who lives two blocks away from the Rosales family, caught a suspicious truck on her security camera.

“I noticed that my camera started dinging,” she recalled.

Gutierrez said her husband, who was in their driveway at the time, saw the whole thing happen on a city road 100 feet from their home.

“He goes, ‘Somebody just drove up there and dumped something.’ I said, ‘What?’ As soon as I walked up, I immediately knew it was a pig,” said Gutierrez. “This road right here has become a dumping ground. It’s become a burial ground.”

Gutierrez posted the disturbing find on social media.

Rosales saw it right away and soon confirmed it was Tank. He knew it was his pig thanks to unique marks on Tank’s ears.

“Playing with my dogs, they had bit his ears a few times. [The cuts] were very small,” Rosales explained. “The way the carcass was displayed, they put his head on top of the carcass and I immediately noticed his ears.”

Rosales said Tank was a small pig. It weighed no more than 20 pounds, and was roughly the size of an English Bulldog.

Tank could have been wearing a scarf at the time of his escape — another distinctive detail showing he was domesticated.

“Tank wasn’t a feral hog. He wasn’t a javelina…You knew he had to have been a pet because he trusted people,” said Gutierrez. “He probably went right up to his murderer not knowing what was going to happen to him.”

After Rosales watched the surveillance video, he said he spent two days tracking down the truck. He says he eventually found it near where he lives and spoke with the owner himself.

“One of the individuals who was fined for dumping the carcass admitted using the meat for [food] and he was actually given some of the meat to go and dump the carcass,” Rosales said.

A memorial for Tank sits in the Rosales family’s backyard.

A Facebook page, Justice for Tank the Pig, has attracted hundreds of followers supporting the family’s mission to find the killer.

Rosales said he’s sharing his story to interrupt a pattern, in hopes of holding someone accountable for Tank’s murder.

“The whole reason I wanted to stand up for this was not only to set an example for my daughters, but to let everyone in the community know they need to speak up and do something about it,” said Rosales, who also serves as a member of the Karnes City ISD school board. “It’s actually known that if these guys do this type of stuff that nothing’s gonna happen to them.”

The Karnes City Police Chief tells KENS 5 the person who admitted to dumping the carcass was fined $500, but police don’t have enough evidence to prove who killed the pig. Police need evidence first before considering animal cruelty charges.

If you have any information, call the Karnes City Police Department at (830) 780-2300.

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