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Sarasota Tuesday, Jun. 5, 2012 7 years ago

Sarasota County hog hunt postponed

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by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The Sarasota County Commission unanimously agreed to postpone a wild hog hunt at its regular meeting in Venice this morning after the public bombarded commissioners with negative emails and public comments about such a hunt.

The county, working regionally with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWIFTMUD), proposed two, three-day hunts with 30 hunters, using both dogs and knives to head into a county wilderness preserve east of the Myakka River and south of Interstate 75 near North Port. The two nighttime hog hunts were proposed for December and in March 2013.

While the plan was proposed to help a preserve being decimated by hogs, it drew heavy criticism from residents and animal rights activists.

Commissioner Jon Thaxton pulled the agenda item from the consent agenda and immediately called for a motion to remove the hog hunt from consideration today while staff prepares additional research to be brought back to the commission.

Commissioner Jo Barbetta said he didn’t have a problem with pulling the item, but warned that SWIFTMUD has the main control over the property and can approve a hog hunt with or without the county’s consent.

“We may be powerless on this issue anyway,” Barbetta said.

Barbetta also expressed frustration with the hog problem.

“A lot of people said we should blow their (hogs’) brains out with a .357 magnum rather than send the dogs out to find them,” Barbetta said. “I understand there’s a balance, but there’s also an incredible amount of destruction being done to our lands and this is a population that needs to be controlled somehow.”

Commissioners urged staff to come back with additional information as soon as possible so the issue can be resolved between all parties amicably before SWIFTMUD move forward on the hunt before a solution is reached.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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