North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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March 21, 2013

Wild hogs still wreaking havoc in north Jefferson County

GARDENDALE — Teresa Gravlee’s garden is ready to plant ... except, she has no plans or desire for a garden in that spot.

It was not a tractor or tiller that plowed up the ground on her property in Gardendale; it was wild hogs.  

North Jefferson County has been plagued with the animals in recent years, even in heavily populated areas like Gravlee’s property — she lives just behind K-Mart. Some residents have trapped or killed a few hogs, but it has not stopped them or the destruction they have caused.

The problem escalated to the point that the city brought in a wildlife expert last year — Alabama Cooperative Extension Service Agent Andrew Baril — to educate residents about the animals.

Gravlee has been battling the hogs for three years, but she said the damage this year is far more widespread than ever before. The south end of her yard, which adjoins to a wooded area, is filled with trenches and holes up to six inches deep.

“It’s something I can’t explain to people,” she said. “It’s just something you have to see for yourself to believe.”

One night last week, Gravlee ran the pack of animals — she said there are 10 to 15 of them — out of her yard four times by banging metal lids together and turning on a flood light.

She said officials keep telling her to fence off her property in order to keep the animals out, but she said she can not afford a fence. And even if she could, she thinks the city should do more to deal with the problem, which also affects other people.

But Mayor Othell Phillips said the city is limited on what it can do, because much of the problem is on private property.

“The city has no authority to go on private property,” he said.

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