Pesky Porker Invasion

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 1:34pm

Feral hog population is booming in one Florida county.

Lee County, Florida wants to triple the amount it spends on feral hog removal.

The hogs are known for rooting up yards, tearing up grass and wreaking havoc on neighborhoods.

Last year, the county trapped 500 hogs on its properties at a cost of $33,000.

This year, they've already captured almost 400 hogs, and the county's trapper says the population is spiraling out of control.

Trapper Dale Vest says he captured several of the feral hogs at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve on Friday.

He was back to re-bait the traps on Monday.

"We felt like we had them under control. All of a sudden, boom! They're back and all over the place," said Vest.

Their presence is evident by the damage they leave behind.

"They can damage a whole lawn in just a couple of hours," says Vest.

At Lee County park facilities, employees have been forced to replant trees, shrubs, and even relocate picnic tables.

"Think about the fact that if a hog reproduces three times a year and has about four offspring. If we didn't control them, they'd be everywhere," says Lee Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Barbara Manzo.

Vest visits the county parks 20 times a month.

The trapped pigs end up at a USDA farm in Alva where they're tested, butchered, and given to area charities.

"They need a hog for a benefit, they come here," says farm owner Kim Walker.

The more rural lands that are developed, the bigger the county's hog problem gets.

"The hogs don't know the difference between a park and your backyard," said Manzo.

On Tuesday, Lee County Commissioners could increase what the county pays for hog trapping up to $90,000.

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