SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Feral pigs are a growing problem in California, according to one Napa-area state senator, who is introducing new legislation designed to control the feral pig population in California.

In his announcement Wednesday, Senator Bill Dodd described the growing number of wild pigs as a “scourge on California wildlands” promising to help bring the population under control. The announcement revealed that wild pigs can be found in 56 of California’s 58 counties.

“They also present a major public health risk and have been linked to outbreaks of food-borne illness,” said Sen. Dodd. “My bill will increase opportunities to hunt them.”

If approved, Senate Bill 856 would ban anyone from releasing a hog, boar, pig, or swine to live in the wild on either public or private lands. The legislation would also allow the owner or tenant of a property where a feral pig was destroying property or worrying livestock to take that wild pig. Other new rules to control wild pig populations are also included.

“Feral pigs are an invasive species and the cause of significant damage in our state to the environment, private property, agriculture, and other wildlife,” said Eric Sklar, member of the California Fish and Game Commission. “We need to do everything we can to stop them.”

If approved in its current form, the bill would come into effect on July 1, 2023.