Hunters fined for shooting couple's pet pigs

Two men who shot and killed a Navan couple's cherished pet pot-bellied pigs last November have been fined after pleading guilty Thursday.

Pot-bellied pigs Pickles and Rosie killed in front of owners' Navan home in November

Pickles and Rosie were killed in front of their owners' home in Navan by a hunter who claimed to have mistaken them for wild boars. (Lianne Guilbeault)

Two men who shot and killed a Navan couple's cherished pot-bellied pigs last November have been fined after pleading guilty Thursday.

The pigs, named Pickles and Rosie, were companion animals to Matt Nooyen and Lianne Guilbeault, and even participated as members of the couple's wedding party last September.

Matt Nooyen and Lianne Guilbeault were devastated when their pet pigs were killed last November. (Stu Mills/CBC)

Last November, Francis Laplante and Patrick Yurkowski wandered onto the couple's property and shot the pigs, later claiming they thought the animals were wild boars.

Both men pleaded guilty to charges under Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Laplante, who pulled the trigger, pleaded guilty to careless use of a firearm. He received a $1,500 fine, lost his hunting licence and will be required to take a hunting safety course.

Yurkowski, who was with Laplante but didn't fire a shot, was fined $500 and lost his licence for eight months. He must also take the hunting safety course.

Each man received a suspended sentence for a second count of trespassing.

Lianne Guilbeault said she considered the pot-bellied pigs members of the family. (Lianne Guilbeault)

Neither man wanted to speak with CBC after their court appearance Thursday, but last year Laplante said he was deeply sorry.

"I basically shot them point blank," he admitted. "I thought I was doing a good thing. It never once crossed my mind that I was shooting somebody's pets. It's the biggest regret that I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life."

Laplante said in hindsight, he should have realized the pigs weren't wild animals.

"I wish my brain had clued in that these animals weren't wild. They weren't scared of humans. They weren't scared of us.

Nooyen and Guilbeault buried the pigs on their property. ​

In December a B.C. couple, touched by the story of the pets' untimely deaths, sent two replacement piglets to Nooyen and Guilbeault, just in time for Christmas.
Pickles and Rosie were buried on Nooyen and Guilbeault's Navan property. (Stu Mills/CBC)