Mililani in Central Oahu has a pig problem, and it’s only getting worse, mostly due to well-intending homeowners who continue to feed the feral animals from their backyards or nearby gulches.
"Well, what we're realizing is that a lot of people are feeding pigs," said David O’Neal," general manager of the Mililani Town Association. "They think they're cute, they throw food down behind their walls and then we start getting swarms of pigs coming up."
Mililani has faced the swine in suburbia before, according to state Sen. Michelle Kidani, who also serves as president of MTA.
"I've been on the Mililani Town Association board of directors for about 15 years, and this issue has come and gone before," Kidani told KITV4. "The last issue we had is they were attacking household pets, so we are concerned."
Now, the issue isn’t so much "Fido," but foliage -- the feral pigs are eroding firebreaks and digging up lawns. It's gotten so bad that the MTA issued an alert in its March newsletter.
"There are areas in Mililani, a lot of the perimeter areas, where what used to be maybe ten feet of firebreak behind (a homeowner's) wall is now six inches. So, definitely there are clearly areas that are eroding," explains O'Neal.
According to Miles Fukushima of the Oahu Pig Hunters Assocation, feral pigs can do a lot of damage in a matter of hours, especially when they’re rooting for food.
"They get strong noses and they just can dig," said Fukushima. "They're looking for food -- anything, roots, roaches; anything they're going to eat."
Although it’s illegal to feed animals at parks in Oahu where signs are posted, there is no law that prevents homeowners from feeding feral pigs. Kidani believes such a law would be nearly impossible to enforce.
"So, at this point I don't think legislation is the issue, I think we should start with education," said Kidani.
With feral pigs roaming residential neighborhoods in Mililani and some even walking on driveways or streets, O'Neal is concerned about the potential danger to young children. Just last year, a Mililani man on Leolani Street was attacked by a pig that made its way into his backyard.
"It started just banging against the wall to get out, and ended up gouging the man in his leg," said O'Neal. "When you feed them, they're going to come, they're going to breed (and) their population's going to explode."