Teri Vance: Pigs are taking over Dayton — to clean up

Volunteers join together to pick up trash from the deserts as part of Dayton Pigs.

Volunteers join together to pick up trash from the deserts as part of Dayton Pigs.

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The fair may be going on in Carson City, but the pigs are out in Dayton.

A fledgling group of volunteers who have dubbed themselves the Dayton Pigs join together each Saturday morning to collect garbage from the public lands in the Lyon County desert.

“People like to get out and hit these trails. They like to see the wild horses,” said organizer Phil Wooley. “They want to see it cleaned up.”

The group assembled from an inauspicious beginning.

Wooley, who’s a graphic designer and marketer for brothel owner Dennis Hof, has been actively opposed on social media to a proposed Lyon County ban on brothels.

On many of his posts he noticed a commenter would just leave photos of trash in the desert with the caption, “Dayton Pigs.”

“They were these pictures of TVs and couches out there,” said the husband and father of five who has lived in Dayton since 2001. “It was just kind of inspirational. I thought since people know my name now, I might as well do something good with it.”

His first act was to volunteer to pick up a specific item and take it to the transfer station if he could get help paying the dump fees.

That was seven weeks ago. Since then, it has grown — both in donations and volunteers.

In the first couple of weeks, he said, about six people showed up.

“We were out there in this massive dumping grounds,” he said. “It took us three weeks to clean it up, going out there for a few hours at a time.”

Now, he said, they’ll have 30 to 40 people, including an inmate crew.

“We’re like an army when we show up,” he said. “Everyone just works their (butts) off out there.”

While the group is growing, it is still figuring out the logistics of the organization.

So far, they have two main scouts who determine the next cleanup site. Volunteers also try to patrol common areas for dumping to prevent further offenses.

Wooley created a logo featuring a Jolly Roger style flag featuring a pig they call Jolly Wilbur.

Members wave flags or sport decals with the logo to support the effort and also help identify one another.

“More than once we’ve rolled up on each other thinking we’re catching someone in the act,” Wooley said.

While the work is labor intensive, he said, volunteers have a good time and enjoy the social aspect of getting to know one another.

“It’s hard work, but it doesn’t have to be horrible,” he said. “I want to make people feel like heroes when they’re out there.”

For information or to volunteer or donate, go to Dayton Pigs — Trash Talk on Facebook.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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