Onslaught of Wild Texas Hogs ‘Can Do More Damage Than a Bulldozer’

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It means business.Photo: iStockphoto

Texas is being taken over by feral hogs, which run in packs, can weigh up to 375 pounds, and sometimes have tusks. "I think people expect this to be a rural problem," Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples told the AP. Not so! They're in the Dallas suburbs. Out in the country they were shredding cornfields, trampling fruit trees, and devouring the occasional calf (!), but in the city they are uprooting lawns and overturning playground equipment. They're always out there. In the darkness. Waiting. "If you do wake up at night," says Sharie La Vail, whose yard was hit by the hogs, "you look out the window, because you just don't know. I think they outnumber us."

Texas has about 2 million hogs in state, and they cause some $400 million in damage each year. They can break through barbed-wire fences, and they breed so quickly that officials have been stumped about how to stop them from spreading into cities. There was a pig birth-control pill, which failed, and now the Fish and Wildlife Service might let hunters shoot the hogs from helicopters. (Palin family vacay!)

In Irving, outside Dallas, 250 hogs have been captured since October. In nearby Arlington, about 30 have been trapped. The pigs are humanely euthanized. In the words of Ray Rentschler, field supervisor for Arlington's Animal Services: "When you've got a herd of 300-pound pigs in your neighborhood, it tends to make people feel nervous."

Feral Hogs Moving Into Urban Areas In Texas [AP via CBS DFW]