Arlington has been trapping feral hogs for years, but has recently taken a different approach that is saving taxpayers some serious bacon.
”Every time we caught the hogs, we had to euthanize it,” said Ray Rentschel, Animal Services field supervisor. “After sedating the hogs with dangerous drugs, we’d haul them off to bury them in the landfill. The hogs were buried a certain way because of the drugs, so it became costly.” Euthanization cost taxpayers $100 to $120 per animal.
Today, the city’s hog trapping program is actually generating revenue. Thanks to a Tomorrow Fund grant, the city now loads the captured hogs into a trailer and transports them to a Fort Worth meat processor, receiving $10 or $100 per animal. .
Since October the city has received approximately $900, money that’s being used to purchase new traps to control the feral hog population.
Earlier this month, one of those corn-baited traps captured a 160-pound boar regularly seen eating acorns in a neighborhood near Lamar and Green Oaks boulevards. As he was being loaded into the trailer, the feisty hog tried to escape and even sprayed water at one person.
Rentschel is glad the hog was caught before moving into River Legacy Park or the surrounding neighborhoods. According to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, feral hogs in Texas cause an estimated $52 million dollars in damage annually to the agricultural industry.
Although feral hogs are known to be aggressive, no injuries to people have been reported. Motorists have struck and killed at least two hogs – one weighing more than 250 pounds – on the northern stretch of Green Oaks Boulevard.
For the past two years, the city has done a great job of dealing with the wild pig populations, which can increase quickly.
“Animal services caught and euthanized 34 hogs in 2010,” Rentschel said. “No traps were set in 2011 because few of the animals were sighted. They came back again this year really strong to where we started trapping again.”