Melissa Carlo  /  Winona Daily News via AP
Michelle Schmitz, of Winona, Minn., feeds her pot-bellied pig, Alaina, a healthy snack of banana Monday, Nov.5, 2007, at her sister's house in Winona. The pig, which ate its way from 50 to 150 pounds while in the care of a sitter, has lost 15 pounds since being returned to Schmitz one week ago. Schmitz wanted to press charges after the animal gained 100 pounds while under a pet sitter's care. The pig is back on a strict diet and has already lost 10 percent of her weight.(AP Photo/Winona Daily News, Melissa Carlo)
updated 11/6/2007 7:28:49 PM ET 2007-11-07T00:28:49

A pet pig whose weight tripled while it was in the care of a sitter has been placed on a diet — and an animal cruelty charge has been filed against the caretaker.

The 5-year-old animal, Alaina Templeton, part potbellied pig, has lost 10 percent of her 150 pounds and is recovering well from surgery to remove a collar that had become embedded in her overly fat neck, owner Michelle Schmitz said.

Alaina made headlines last week after Schmitz complained that the pet sitter had allowed Alaina to go from her normal 50 pounds to 150 pounds in just nine months. Schmitz had left Alaina with the sitter, a co-worker, while she was on medical leave to recover from ankle surgery.

Alaina apparently had been foraging for cat food and chicken feed outdoors at the co-worker's farm.

Schmitz said now that her pet is back home, the excess pounds will "melt off" with a healthy diet and exercise. She said she and Alaina's veterinarian consider 50 pounds a more suitable weight for the mixed-breed pig.

A misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty has been filed against Mary Beesecker, 52, of Houston, Minn., Winona County Sheriff David Brand said.

"I want her to be held responsible for what she did and what she didn't do," Schmitz said.

Beesecker did not immediately respond to a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday, and she has refused requests from The Winona Daily News for an interview.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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