SB 856: California law to control wild pig population pending Newsom's signature

ByAnser Hassan via KGO logo
Thursday, September 22, 2022 6:59AM
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Pending Governor Newsom's signature is SB 856, bill that makes it easier to kill and hunt wild hogs for population control and habitat management.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Shiram Assary has had on-going problems with wild pigs tearing up his yard for years.

"If one of my kids comes home late (at night) and it's in the middle of their binging, I don't want my kids to be attacked," says Assary.

Assary, who lives in San Jose, has installed surveillance cameras that captured video showing the pigs destroying his entire front yard, and at a cost of thousands of dollars to fix. His front yard is now fenced off, but he knows that's not going to be enough.

"When they come, there is a group of about 13 to 14 of them. And they can damage the fence, move into there and turn the grass upside down," explains Assary.

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According to recent estimates, California now has the fourth largest population of wild pigs in the country. Santa Clara County has the most in the Bay Area.

California Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) authored Senate Bill 856, that would help control the state's growing wild pig population. The bill passed in August.

Senator Dodd wasn't available for comment on Wednesday, but did provide ABC7 News with an audio statement.

"These pigs carry disease and cause millions of dollars of damage to crops each year," says Dodd.

The new bill reclassifies wild pigs from "protected game animal" to "exotic species." The new designation makes it easier to kill them, and no limits on hunting them. Supporters say this allows for better population control and habitat management.

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"SB 856 moves from pig tags to pig validations, allowing hunters to pay one price for unlimited take," explains Dodd.

Despite the lower costs for hog hunting, the bill has been opposed by some hunting groups. They are concerned that it could reduce revenue by reducing hunting opportunities. And reduced hunting fees also means the less income for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The bill has also been opposed by some animal rights groups.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is holding a virtual public forum on Thursday morning to discuss wild pigs issues.

Governor Gavin Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill into law.

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