The death of Christine Rollins, 59, of Anahuac, TX has officially been ruled caused by feral hogs.
This according to a statement released by the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and published at KFDM.com is conclusive.
“The Medical Examiner determined her death was not due to a medical condition or canine related.”
Rollins was killed outside of a home on Highway 61 near Anahuac where she was a caretaker for an elderly couple.
The most important thing here is that someone lost their life. Family and friends will grieve the unthinkable loss of their loved one to something so horrible few could imagine.
The next issue that needs addressed, however, is the reality of feral hog attacks.
As feral hog populations soar in Texas and spread into new territory all around the nation, more attacks will happen.
No one can predict attacks but they will happen and people need to have honest information on hogs.
In 2017, I wrote an article called “Do Feral Hogs Attack? These Do”...
That article sites troubling statistics.
Of the 21 states reporting hog attacks Texas led the pack with 24 percent with Florida at 12 percent and South Carolina at 10. Interestingly when examining worldwide shark fatalities hogs actually beat them out in deaths some years-including as recently as 2013.
A study by Dr. Jack Mayer documents 412 wild hog attacks worldwide impacting 665 people. During this time there were four fatal hog attacks in the United States.
In his study, hogs that attack are described as solitary (82 percent), large (87 percent) and male (81 percent) and most attacks occurred when there was no hunting involved. In other words they were unprovoked.
In this particular case, Chamber’s County Sheriff’s Brian Hawthorne said there is “no doubt in my mind or my criminal investigation captain John Miller that multiple animals were responsible for the attack.”
Despite lone boars perpetrating the vast majority of incidents, there are accounts of groups of hogs attacking people as well.
Hogs attacking people in the United States in and around homes is not unprecedented either.
The Pineville Town Talk documents the story of a Pineville, La. man who had a pig enter the house he was visiting.
“Boston Kyles, 20, of 497 Pelican Drive told deputies he was visiting his sister’s house at the time of the incident. He said he had gone there to clean fish and was sitting in the house’s front room when the pig entered through the front door. Kyles told deputies he stomped the floor to try to shoo the pig out of the room, but the pig charged him, Maj. Herman Walters said.”
An Edgefield, South Carolina man who experienced one of the scariest hog attacks I could find occurring in the United States according to The Edgefield Advertiser.
“A man was hospitalized recently after being attacked by a wild hog at his home on Gaston Road. The hog, which eyewitnesses estimated to weigh upwards of 700 pounds, materialized in Fab Burt’s backyard while he was working in his garden.”
“It came out of nowhere and attacked me. It had me pinned on the ground and was mauling me.”
Fortunately, Burt’s seven-month-old German shepherd, named Bobo, was on hand to help him fend off the hog.
“Walters had heard of pigs attacking people in the woods but said this was the first time he had heard of a pig going into a house and attacking someone.”
Feral hog attacks are rare.
I could easily spout of statistics like media often uses with shark attacks and say something like you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being attacked by a hog.
And it would probably be true.
But that offers no comfort to the people who have been attacked and survived or families struggling with hog-related loss of their loved ones.
There is no question most people will never be attacked by a hog but there is also no question in my opinion that as hog numbers increase at unprecedented levels and more deeply into even large metropolitan cites like Houston, TX and Orlando, FL. more attacks will happen.
People need to be educated on the potential danger of hogs, especially children who could encounter them on playgrounds or even waiting at the bus stop. A 400-pounder was recently captured just a few yards from a bus stop in Tampa, FL.
It was a boar and fits the profile of a hog most likely to attack according to Dr. Mayer’s study.
Here are a few things everyone in hog territory needs to know.
*Hogs are dangerous. They can attack and kill. Never approach them.
*Never approach even cute piglets. Baby feral hogs are adorable but their mothers (sow) will go to any length to protect them. The sow may be out of the line of sight if you see tiny pigs but she is nearby and will respond.
*Do not feed hogs. Unless hogs are being baited in a wild location in preparation of hunting them, do not feed them. Never feed around houses or in parks. In areas like urban centers where hogs are never hunted, they can seem tame. Do not make them accustomed to seeing people as a food source. Additionally, do not throw scraps outside. That can also attract hogs.
*Be especially mindful of large, solitary boars. If you see such an animal on a hiking trail for example give it wide berth and report to officials. That animal certainly needs to be targeted for removal and elimination.
Feral hogs represent the single most challenging and complex issue involving wildlife in North America. It’s easy due to statistical analysis to gloss over rare attacks for the more easily discernible issue of hogs damage to agriculture and wildlife habitat.
But we must never forget those who have fell to feral hog attacks and do our best to educate people on the topic.
None of the victims cited here did anything to incite an attack. They were simply going about their lives.
But there are things we can do to make attacks less likely as hog and human populations increase and compete for resources.
Chester Moore, Jr.