Pigs make Lakewood Ranch hog heaven

Hunter has been hired to catch them

Feral pigs have made the lush landscaping of Lakewood Ranch hog heaven.

And now the property management has hired a hunter to catch the pigs and remove them.

"They're scary," said Kathy Tudyk, a resident in the Canterbury subdivision.  "You come up on the golf course and there's six or eight of them.  They're wild animals!"

Well, not exactly.  Feral pigs are domestic animals introduced by people into Florida's environment, and now they live in the wild and ravage valuable land, including front lawns.  

Some residents have spent hundreds of dollars fixing their yards after pigs went hog wild in the grass.

The pigs can even be dangerous.  Just ask Rick Waid, a resident of Lakewood Ranch for more than a decade.  Waid recalled crashing into one with his car.

"Four feet tall at the shoulder, and it probably weighed 500 pounds," Waid said.  "It ran into the side of the car and it put a hole in the fender."

Michelle Reece and her kids spotted a group of the hogs hobnobbing in the street.  At first, they thought they were looking at someone's pet.

"I definitely thought it was a big black lab," said Madison Reese, 15.  "We realized they were pigs just sitting there in the middle of the road casually," Reese said.

"It was astonishing because you don't see that every day."  

Lakewood Ranch has hired a trapper to catch the hogs, and so far he's found 16 of the beasts.  Despite the effort to remove them, some residents don't believe it will do much good considering the pigs keep coming back.

"I like it here.  They like it here," Tudyk said.  "I don't believe you're going to be able to control all this."

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