A Walton County couple established a shelter for pigs in DeFuniak Springs. Dubbed Hog-warts Orphanage, the joint opened in May and has since become home to 13 pigs.

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — A Walton County couple say they never expected to run a Harry Potter-themed rescue for pot-bellied pets.

After stepping onto the scene in May, Hog-warts Orphanage has become home to more than a dozen pigs.

Founded by Tasha and Colton Sharon, the shelter sits on about 20 acres off U.S. Highway 90 in DeFuniak Springs.

The couple, who said they originally had two pet pigs of their own, came up with the idea after fostering a third pig that was in pretty bad shape when they got her.

"We're not looking to be farmers," Colton said. "We're basically raising them to have homes, to be cared for (and) to live just like you would have a pet dog or pet cat."

He added that their sister rescue, In Loving Swineness in Pensacola, works more with wild pigs while Hog-warts deals mostly with those that have been abandoned.

Tasha, who said pigs are about as smart as 3- to-4-year-old children, added that Florida is experiencing two pig-related problems right now: people releasing their pet pigs into the wild and animal control facilities being "bombarded" with them.

"It's become a bigger issue because everybody is expecting these guys to stay small," she said. "Guess what. They don't."

To help Florida's feral pig problem, they plan to host an open house from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15 for people to come out, meet the pigs and learn a little more about them.

"It's an open event. It it's free (and) it's just for people to come out and learn," Tasha said.

In honor of the porky joint's Harry Potter theme, they also hoped to eventually set up different "houses" — Sniffindor, SlitherSwine, RavenHoove and HuffleSnort — to match the personalities of each pig.

"We're basically training them to know that when someone comes in, they're not going to attack them, they're not going to be in trouble (and that) they have their safe space," Colton said.

For more information, follow the shelter on Facebook or visit www.hogwartsorphanage.com.

This story originally published to waltonsun.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network via the Florida Wire. The Florida Wire, which runs across digital, print and video platforms, curates and distributes Florida-focused stories. For more Florida stories, visit here, and to support local media throughout the state of Florida, consider subscribing to your local paper.