According to the DNRE, the pigs are damaging local land. As the pigs are omnivores, they will eat almost anything, including farm crops, endangered wild plants, the eggs of game birds, reptiles and young deer and lambs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the pigs cause about $80 million in damages to national farm crops annually..
Diseases including anthrax, bovine herpes virus, foot and mouth disease, influenza, swine fever and swinepox virus also are carried by the wild boar.
Feral pigs are often the offspring of boars, originally imported from Russia or Eurasia to be hunted as exotic game, that have escaped from area game preserves. There are at least 65 swine-hunting preserves in the state, and owners of these sites insist their security measures are adequate in keeping pigs under control. They insist the threat of wild pigs has been exaggerated.
The state Legislature now must decide if these pigs should be illegal to own. They have been given a July 8 deadline by the DNRE to impose regulations concerning the breeding and confining of the animal. If nothing is done, the ownership of these pigs will be banned in the state.
To control the pig problem until a decision has been made, the DNRE is advising residents to shoot any feral pigs they encounter on sight.