San Ramon's pig problem is over -- for the time being, at least.
A total of 12 pigs were captured after digging up yards in the ranch area of Westside Drive, according to Karen McNamara, San Ramon's public services director.
"The pigs and other wildlife live in the open space and come down looking for grubs and water. They find some nice healthy lawns and basically root through them," McNamara said.
She said residents tried some methods on their own first, including lights to discourage the pigs from coming onto their property.
After those methods failed, a pig trapper was brought in. Dick Seever, owner of Rural Pig Management has been trapping pigs across the Bay Area for more than 20 years.
"They called me up there Sept. 2. The day they called me I put traps there," Seever said. "I told the people the reason they had so many pigs coming down there is that their lawns were soaking wet. Pigs have an amazing sense of smell."
He added that people who use grub killers on their lawns can compound the problem.
"They smell dead grubs, they smell water, they smell mud and they come down. The people whose yards they destroyed, they did a job on them," he said.
Seever said trapping them can be complicated, because pigs know where they want to go and even baited traps don't lure them in.
"He smells where he's going and that's where he goes," Seever said. "To trap them you have to put in a trap between point A and B."
The state Department of Fish and Game doesn't allow pigs to be transported -- and, Seever said, they can be vicious when penned in -- so he kills them in the trap.
"You have to shoot them, you have to kill them," he said.
Seever offers the meat to the homeowner whose land they were caught on, and while most declined the offer, one homeowner accepted.
While he said the problem is over for now, with cooler weather and acorns available as food, it's likely they'll be back next year.
"I caught all boars. I never caught one adult sow," Seever said. "There's a mama pig out there somewhere. I'm afraid that that area may have a pig problem again."
But he said residents should count themselves lucky -- usually they have to pay out of pocket to deal with the porcine marauders.
"Cities have never paid for wild pigs to be removed. The people in San Ramon should feel pretty lucky that the city paid -- I've never had that before," Seever said.
Recently, wild pigs have been causing similar problems across the country, from Texas to New York state.
According to California's state pig management website, domestic pigs came to the state as livestock in the 1700s and went native after escaping local farms. A Monterey County landowner added to the problem in the 1920s, importing the European wild boar, which bred with the escaped domesticated pigs to create a feral hybrid.