A shotgun attack on a pet piglet in Mont-Tremblant, Que. has shaken the Laurentians' town 125 km northwest of Montreal, rallying residents and ultimately leading police to arrest a man in his twenties.
And – while she'll have to live with a faceful of lead – Lily, the nine-month-old Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, will be all right.
The attack happened on Nov. 21, while Lily was outside, alone, in front of owner Karine Houle's house. Houle said a car drove by, and someone inside the vehicle shot Lily at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun.
"It was just one shot, and it hit her right in the face," Houle said.
"When they saw she wasn't dead, they took off. She ran into the house."
Houle rushed Lily to the vet, where a series of tests and x-rays revealed a spray of lead shot embedded in her face, shoulder and legs.
"All of the lead lodged in her face is going to stay," Houle said. Lily will be scheduled for surgery to have the lead shot removed from other parts of her body.
"She still has a limp, but everything is fine. She's very fit and will soon start living her life again," said Houle.
Police flooded with tips
Soon after the attack, Mont-Tremblant police were flooded with tips from the community.
"It was really a crime that shocked everyone in Quebec," said police spokesman Éric Cadotte. "People were offended by the crime, so they decided to speak out."
Cadotte said the suspect was arrested Tuesday and released on a promise to appear in court on March 2, under the condition he not approach the Houle residence.
The man could face two charges: animal cruelty and illegal possession of a firearm.
Houle said on the day of his arrest, the young man did, however, show up at her house with a companion to apologize.
"He came to tell me everything that happened, and that he acted like an imbecile," Houle said.
"Looking at them, I could tell they were very young and didn't know much about life."
They told her that if Lily had died, they would have taken her and eaten her.
So Houle pulled 20 dollars from her pocket.
"I said here, take this and go to the grocery store. Ground pork is on special. If you took the fat off of Lily, this is about what you would get."
The young man hung his head, she said – but didn't accept the money.