MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – For residents in the River Club community, seeing wildlife in the neighborhood isn’t out of the ordinary. However, over the last few months, residents say there’s been an increase in damages caused by wild pigs.
“I’ve been waking up every morning around 5:30 and normally they will be all around the backyard and front yard and they are just wreaking havoc,” said resident Daryl Bernstein.
Bernstein says the wild pigs have torn up his yard and landscaping. He says they keep coming back.
“It is frustrating. It is hard for us because you’ve got to put new grass in and then the next week they can come back and do it all over again,” said Bernstein.
Bob Lapp has named part of his backyard the ‘hog highway’. Lapp likes to keep his lawn looking nice, but as of late, it’s been tough.
“There is a lot of construction going on and a lot of development. That shouldn’t stop for hogs, but hogs are not going to stop what they were going to do either, so it is an interesting debate that people would have strong feelings about on both sides,” said Lapp. “We are tired of it and we are worn out and it is going to be very very expensive,” he continued.
Homeowners have been racking up damages around their homes, but many don’t want to fix the damages until they know it won’t happen again.
“I don’t think any of us want to have to deal with probably thousands of dollars worth of re-landscaping with no hope that tomorrow they won’t be back to undo what you just paid thousands of dollars to have done,” said homeowner Phil Pape.
Pape says the HOA has allowed trappers onsite, but so far, it hasn’t made a big difference.
“I don’t think any individual can solve the problem themselves. It is just too massive,” said Pape. “There is so much construction going on. I would like to see a big community approach to it. Maybe even a small hunting season where people would be allowed to come in and kind of thin it, not put it to extinction but kind of thin it to help mitigate it so you don’t get damage like this.”
The pigs are not new to the neighborhood by any means, but people who live in the community say the damage they’re causing is becoming more widespread.
“There are people that will say, ‘they were here first’ and I get it. I get where they are coming from, but we do have families here now and if this is going to create problems for families I think we need to take a bigger step to help eliminate as many of them as we can to give the homeowners here some peace of mind,” said Pape.
8 On Your Side contacted officials with Manatee County to see if there’s any way they can help with the ongoing pig problem. We are waiting for a response.