Sunday, May 01, 2011

Tales from zoopolis (the homeland is invaded)

04/30/2011 09:19 PM

Wild Hogs Invade Austin Neighborhood

By: Jeff Stensland

A group of wild hogs have moved into a Northeast Austin neighborhood, and neighbors are not happy. Families started spotting the pigs around April 18, 2011. However, those who live in the area have no idea how the hogs got there.

"I never know what to expect when I go outside now," said Chris Elmore, who has seen the hogs at least twice.

Elmore's first sighting was about a week ago around 5 a.m.

"There were like eight or nine of them," Elmore said. "They were pretty organized, but at the same time, it was pretty weird to see them taking up the whole street like that. I didn't know where they came from."

A couple days later, Elmore spotted the pigs just after sunrise when he was taking his son to school. A neighbor took this picture of the hogs, which is now circulating throughout the neighborhood. The wild hogs chased several other kids to school, including AJ Reed.

"We thought it was a group of dogs, so we started running," Reed said. "As they saw us, I saw the long snout and didn't think it was a dog anymore."

The sightings have left Reed, Elmore and others with more questions than answers.

"Did they live in the woods back there," Elmore asked. "Does it have to do with the park being built? Did them cutting down the trees stop them from being wherever they were at or where they came from? Did somebody just drop them off?"

The president of the Harris Glen Homeowners Association believes the pigs came to the neighborhood because of a nearby spring. It is one of only a few places the hogs can find water during the widespread drought. Next to the natural spring is the site of the future Harris Glen Park and Pool. Crews cleared tall grass and brush on the property, which is just beyond the fence line of homes in the Harris Glen subdivision.

HOA President Ken Blevins said he plans to meet with city leaders in the coming days to talk about several issues facing the neighborhood, including the wild hogs.

Elmore has called animal control several times, but so far, he says no action's been taken. He worries the pigs could get vicious.

"They weren't the biggest hogs, but they had room to grow," Elmore said. "They were on a mission."

Wild hogs are omnivorous and can even eat small animals. Besides chasing kids and blocking traffic, neighbors say the hogs have damaged several yards.

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