Wild pigs wreak havoc in Lafayette park, ruining soccer fields, homeowner lawns

Wild pigs are wreaking havoc in Lafayette, ripping up soccer fields and homeowners' lawns looking for grub.

The pesky pigs are often prevalent in the semi-rural hills of this East Bay city of 25,000 residents. But  Jonathan Katayanagi  director of parks, trails and recreation, said this year seems to be worse.

WATCH: Wild pigs wreak havoc in Lafayette 

"The boars this year seem to have been emboldened, tearing up lawns and landscaping all over town and running rip-shod across our prized Lafayette Community Park," he said.

The pigs have rooted through so much soil that the soccer field at the 52-acre park is too damaged to be used right now, he said. Soccer players have moved practices and games to a nearby middle school. 

That's not to mention individual homeowner property, which has also been affected. The pigs are foraging for fruit, roots, tubers and tiny invertebrates. 

Matt Pease, who lives a few miles away from the park, is no stranger to the wildfire that lives around his home. Just before turning into the driveway at the corner of St. Mary's Road and Burton Vista Court, there is a sign that alerts drivers that there could be deer crossing. Pease installed fencing to keep deer from tearing up his lawn, but nothing prepared him for the pigs.

"I saw the lawn just completely ripped up," Pease said. "It was a real mess on Sunday. It was muddy and there were hoof marks all over the place. It was quite a mess." 

Last Thursday, city maintenance crews were out trying to assess the situation, and they captured at least 25 pigs running through the park. The staffer took video from the safety of his car, as the pigs can be very aggressive, Katayanagi said.

At this point, the remedy seems to be fencing and awareness, Katayanagi said. 

First, people who use the field at the park must close the gates behind them so that the pigs can't enter. Second, new fencing is going up to try to keep the pigs out. The city has spent about $5,000 so far on temporary wire fencing, and is looking at how much it will cost to erect a more permanent chain link fence around the whole park. The pig fencers that Katayanagi has called are all quite busy and couldn't pinpoint a time when they could put a new fence up.