SAN JOSE, Calif. - Homeowners in San Jose’s East Foothills said the city’s wild pig problem is out of control. On Thursday, many of them discovered their well-manicured lawns ripped to pieces, costing thousands of dollars to repair. People also fear for their safety.
Experts said hot dry conditions, the draining of Anderson Dam and an exploding pig population are all to blame. Also, a new city proposal to help trappers use bows and arrows is expected to be shot down next Tuesday.
“I was kind of in shock,” said Brian Hom of San Jose. “I couldn't believe it.”
Hom tried everything to protect his new lawn, including a rock barrier and spraying grub killer but it wasn’t enough for wild pigs to feast on his lawn.
“It was never this bad we’d get one patch of grass and put it back in,” said Hom. “They decided to lift every piece of grass I had in that spot.”
A neighbor’s security camera captured a herd of a dozen feral pigs on Wednesday at 5 a.m. in San Jose’s Evergreen neighborhood.
At least half a dozen homes have similar landscaping.
“I woke up because I heard my husband yelling oh no, oh no and I was like what and he said the boars came,” said Melissa Songcuan of San Jose.
“We spend a lot of time and energy working on our yards and then we have this happen,” said Tom Troung of San Jose.
People suspect the pigs are coming from the nearby open space ranchland, looking for food amid dry warm weather.
“Pigs don’t have sweat glands so they need water every day,” said Timothy Gall of Wild Pig Removal, Inc. “The removal of water from Anderson Dam, now it’s in the Guadalupe Creek area so they are following the water down.”
Licensed trapper Timothy Gall said pigs eat roots for moisture. He said it’s becoming more difficult to trap them. The pigs are too smart and avoid them.
“My traps are five feet tall,” said Gall. “I had a 240-pound boar jump over the trap.”
San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis supports allowing licensed trappers to hunt pigs using bows and arrows. An ordinance is up for a vote on Tuesday. City staff and the police chief are recommending against it.
“He’s afraid they are going to ricochet or inadvertent misfires,” said Khamis.
“My son was asking if he could use his BB gun to try and shoot it,” said Hom.
BB guns are not permitted. Hom is hoping metal fencing he just bought will stop the destruction. He plans to be more vigilant at night.
“Be aware, get ready for them, watch your dog and your pets and your children outside,” said Hom.
Hom said insurance likely doesn’t cover the wild pigs. Gall recommends if you live in a problem area to invest in drought resistant plants. He said to avoid the pigs because with piglets around, they can be unpredictable.