Hogs are taking over in Lehigh Acres, tearing up yards and menacing entire neighborhoods. People living there are fed up and looking for a solution.
Even though the footprints left behind are large, they are not from bigfoot. It’s not a human either, despite people’s security cameras saying “person detected.” The big problem in Lehigh Acres is a pig problem.
The wild hogs are taking over in search of food. “Yes, they come to my house. I’m the diner,” said Cherrie McAbee, whose lawn was torn up by the pigs. “Sometimes it’s, you know, 10 o’clock. It’s been as late as 2:30 in the morning when I’ve woken up and seeing them out. Anytime I wake up during the night, I look out.”
McAbee has spent $1,500 on new irrigation lights to keep the pigs at bay. When that didn’t work, she went back to getting up in the middle of the night to yell at them.
“I’m just yelling at them to get out of there. And if I clap my hands really loud, they run. But they come back. They’re only scared for a short time,” said McAbee.
The question in the minds of people living in the area is why is this happening?
Yadami Rodriguez, whose yard looks like someone drove through it, thinks she has the answer.
“It happened when they started building all this housing and clearing out that, you know, the wood spots and everything. So I think that’s affecting the way they’re living, you know, in their environment. And I think that’s what’s causing them to just having to come out here and try to feed on whatever they can find,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez doesn’t want to see them hurt. She doesn’t want to see them starving. She just wants them relocated somewhere else.
“I think there’s another side to being human. And it’s just not, you know, being able to take over all the places and, and grab whatever we want. There’s a side of us that if we really get into it, it’s just you know, being able to share this planet, this environment with the other creatures and be respectful,” said Rodriguez.
There are not a lot of options to help residents keep the hogs off their lawns. According to FWC, they can’t necessarily relocate the animals because they are not native to Southwest Florida.
The one solution to the problem is an old fashion one; You can hunt them. You don’t need a hunting license to hunt the pigs, only the permission of the landowner that you hunt them on.
Residents in the Lehigh Acres neighborhood that has been terrorized by the hogs agree that they have to be careful with how they choose to handle them.
“They don’t come to our houses, they don’t mess up with our garbage, they don’t mess up with their gardens, they don’t even want contact with people, they’re just looking for food. But they’re just being displaced. And somehow, they have to learn to survive. And I think it’s up to us to be responsible. If we still need to build houses in the area, we need to be responsible enough to create a way for these animals to survive,” said Rodriguez.
FWC said you can contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for help. FWC did not share what kind of help that agency could provide.