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Professional Trapper Hunting Down Lafayette's Marauding Wild Pigs

LAFAYETTE (KPIX 5) -- Rampaging wild hogs in Lafayette have gotten so out of control this winter that the city has been forced to hire a professional trapper to reduce the number of animals.

Wild pigs have been roaming around the Lafayette area for years, but now that they've expanded into public parks and started to tear things up, city officials have had enough.

Lafayette Community Park is under nightly assault by wild pigs that root under the grass looking for food, destroying large areas of turf. Lafayette Parks and Recreation Director Jonathan Katayanagi told KPIX 5 it may cost $20,000 to repair fields damaged by the pigs.

"We put up a temporary fence to lock the pigs out of the area. As soon as we did that, They came and rooted up an area at the nearby playground," said Katayanagi.

The Children's Playground grass is completely plowed under by the pigs. Once a clean grassy play area, now a pigsty. There is the danger factor.

"If they feel threatened, the larger pigs have sharp tusks and can attack a human or dog," said Katayanagi.

Although no one has been attacked yet, many trails have been closed closed due to the pigs. Michael Henninger walks his dog Danny twice a day in and around the park. He stumbled upon one of the pigs.

"It was pretty good size, you know. Probably about the size of a Golden Retriever. His back was probably up to my knee height," said Henninger. "A lot bigger than little Danny!"

Some pigs in the park are over a hundred pounds. But Katayanagi says city officials have a plan. [

"We are working with a licensed trapper and Fish and Wildlife, and both are being overseen by the Lafayette Police Department," said Katayanagi.

The goal is to capture the pigs in special corrals equipped with one-way doors. That job will take a few more weeks to get started. Meanwhile, it will be hard to get rid of all the pigs.

"They can have two to three litters each year, 6 to 14 pigs a litter, so the pigs are present here in California," said Katayanagi.

It will be up to the department of fish and wildlife to determine what happens to the pigs after they are captured, but relocating them is not an option.

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