Hogging the golf course may not be proper etiquette, but the pigs around Almaden Country Club in San Jose, Calif., have no use for protocol, and it has the community squealing. The feral pigs are tearing up the grass and digging holes in search of food and water.
According to the county club, the cluster of pigs is extracting water from the grass, roots, insects in the ground, and anywhere else they find it on the golf course.
“It is not a new problem,” said Janice Mackey, public information officer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It’s been going on quite a while, we have instances of pigs coming down and uprooting in various locations. It happens periodically and there is no rhyme or reason to it. It could be in search of food and water, but I would not single that out as the single cause.”
The pigs, which the city’s Animal Care and Services webpage says originally descended from “introductions of European wild hogs for sporting purposes, and from escaped domestic swine that have established feral populations,” come down from the nearby mountains and although the club does have a fence, the pigs dig underneath it.
Country club general manager Robert Sparks told ABC News affiliate KGO that he is fed up with the animals.
“We’ve had an invasion of up to about 40 wild pigs onto the club property,” Sparks told KGO. “We’re talking anywhere from about 200- to 300-pound, large pigs, the males with tusks.”
Ted Barikmo, who lives in the neighborhood and took video of the pigs in his yard, told ABC affiliate KGO that the pigs have become more aggressive over the years.
“Years ago, you would see them once in a while, very rarely and they’d smell you, and they would run, Barikmo said. “Now they’re a little more brazen and they look at you and they don’t really mind seeing you.”
It is not just the cosmetic aspect and expensive damage to the course and neighborhood lawns that is upsetting the community.
“We’ve had stories of the pigs out on the street encountering joggers, dogs, people walking children and people are concerned about the safety of their children,” Sparks told KGO.
According to the City of San Jose website, “Wild hogs are typically not aggressive and will retreat if approached. However, when cornered, wounded, or defending young, they may charge and are capable of inflicting serious wounds with their razor sharp tusks.”
Mackey suggests community members turn on automated sprinklers to deter the pigs from uprooting their yards. She says people can also close their garbage lids and pick up fallen fruit, put up a fence, and install automated lights.