California lawmaker wants to make it easier to hunt pesky feral pigs, pressure comes from Bay Area

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) — State Senator Bill Dodd wants to make it easier to hunt feral hogs. He pointed to destruction, potential dangers and public health risks as reasons for his desire to control the state’s feral pig population.

Many have seen the surveillance footage, video after video, of feral pigs traversing Bay Area communities.

However, these nocturnal animals do not hesitate to tear up lawns.

“Let me tell you right now, these are dangerous animals,” St. Sen said. Dodd at ABC7 News.

If you’re on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

His district spans parts of six counties, including Contra Costa, Solano, and Sonoma.

Senator Dodd recently introduced SB-856, a bill that would replace the current wild pig tag requirement. As it stands, licensed hunters in California must have a tag for every wild pig killed.

“There are no beacons in this particular case,” Dodd described. “They get a license and they’re free to go out and take as many as they want.”

WATCH: San Ramon owner shares video of lawn destroyed by feral pigs

His bill would instead require a wild pig validation that would allow residents to pay $15 for a hunting license. Non-residents would be charged $50.

“They’re just plain wild. And they’re proliferating and only causing billions of dollars in damage to businesses, to agriculture, to our communities, to schoolyards and to football fields, to football fields,” he said. continued Dodd. “So we’re aiming to do something that will allow a special license to be able to hunt these wild pigs.”

“Most Bay Area residents want fewer guns in our communities and less cruelty as well,” Wayne Hsiung of animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere told ABC7 News. “This bill will do the opposite.”

Hsiung said the focus should be on finding humane alternatives.

“Just like we did with stray dogs and cats, there are many ways for us to use sterilization for example,” he continued.

RELATED: SJ Votes Against Using a Bow and Arrow to Eliminate Feral Hogs

Senator Dodd said: ‘For those who think that might sound dour, we’re talking about the number of these wild pigs which number in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands. So control really has to be taken.’

Beyond the feral pigs proliferating across the state, he said the animals cost billions of dollars in damage.

“I know I spent thousands of dollars because I was 100% damaged,” San Jose resident Sharam Assary told ABC7 News. “And it’s just a house.”

VIDEO: Feral pigs dig lawns in Lafayette neighborhood

In October 2020, Assary showed ABC7 News the destruction of his entire lawn, caused by feral pigs.

Since then, he says he replaced the grass and watched the animals return.

“It took about a year. We didn’t have weed for a whole year,” Assary said. “Then we put the grass in, and immediately a few months after we put the grass in, the boars were there.”

Assary said he then put up a fence around the lawn, but that did little to deter the feral pigs.

He explained, he doesn’t know the answer, but knows something has to be done.

RELATED: ‘Wild Pig Bomb’: US Feral Pig Population Is Exploding, USDA Reports

“I wish I had something in between,” he said after learning about Dodd’s plan. “Not necessarily going and shooting, but at the same time allowing the professionals to handle them properly.”

Dodd’s bill would also prohibit anyone from trapping and then releasing the animals elsewhere.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Dodd told ABC7 News. “There’s also the possibility of some people taking them out and releasing them on a ranch and creating a game reserve. We’re not interested in that.”

He added: “There really aren’t many other ways to do it, especially on the scale it needs to be done.”

Senator Dodd expects the first legislative hearing on the bill in the next 30 to 45 days.

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