A California family is mourning the death of their 400-pound pet pig Princess after it was slaughtered by a neighbor who’d agreed to watch the animal after it got loose while police searched for the owners.

Princess vanished from her home in Humboldt County on March 23 and was later found nearby in a neighbor’s yard.

The Acarta Police Department, which is used to responding to loose livestock, responded to the home to help the Hampshire pig’s owners, SF Gate reported.

An officer asked the neighbor if he would watch over the pig while police searched for its owner, and cops say the neighbor agreed.

It was easy to find Princess’ owners, who were also looking for her; and an hour later police returned to the neighbor’s house, only to arrive at a gruesome discovery.

The neighbor was butchering the pig for meat.

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“We were totally shocked and surprised to learn that the pig had been slaughtered,” Arcata police Chief Brian Ahearn told Lost Coast Outpost, adding the officer had thought he’d reached a “reasonable agreement” with the man.

Arcata police Lt. Todd Dockweiller told the SF Gate that the sight of the dead pig was a “shock to everyone involved.”

“Given the stage of the butchering process he was in, he must have slaughtered the pig very shortly after the officer left,” Dockweiller added.

The Lost Coast Outpost reported that Princess’ owner did not see the gruesome scene, but was devastated to hear what happened to the animal she had cared for since Princess was a piglet.

“She’s very sweet. She’s not aggressive. She likes to be around people,” owner Carrie Hogan told the Outpost, adding she was upset with how the officer handled the situation. “He took it upon himself to give my animal away and then it got butchered.”

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Arcata police said the man who slaughtered Princess was not the homeowner, but instead “a man who was known to them” who was on the property with the owner’s permission, SF Gate reported.

Police said they are expecting to forward a criminal charge to the district attorney’s office.

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