After investigating a series of attacks on horses in upstate South Carolina, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Department has declared the case closed. Investigators from numerous law enforcement agencies found evidence of feral boars including tracks, video evidence of a boar interacting with a horse, and hog sightings in the area where attacks occurred.
“While all of these incidents were extremely unfortunate, I am very thankful for the men and women who worked tirelessly to investigate these cases,” stated Greenville County Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown in a press release. “In addition, I want to convey to our community members that our agency has and will continue to patrol these rural areas to ensure our citizens and their respective animals are safe and secure and for them to know that we have an active open channel of communication for anyone who has questions or concerns.”
The press release states that the population of wild hogs in the area has significantly increased in the last several years. Subsequently, the Department of Natural Resources has authorized wild hog hunting during the day and night with a special permit. For more information about wild hogs in South Carolina visit the DNR’s website.
Bibi Freer, DVM, treated several horses with lacerations, and at the time she thought the wounds had been inflicted by a person with a sharp object. However, Freer said she’d never encountered an injury as a result of a boar attack and after seeing photos of boar attacks, felt the wounds were consistent with those caused by boar tusks.
“Two or three days later it was infected as can be, which is also consistent with boars,” she added.
Freer noted that recent property development in the area has pushed the wild boars out of their habitat. “I’ve lived here for 30 years and had never encountered wild boars before,” she said. “But they’re competing with horses for food, and it’s rutting season, so they’re more aggressive.”
Feral pigs have become such an issue nationwide and in Canada that The New York Times published an article on Dec. 16, about the epidemic, and includes news about a woman in Texas who was killed by them on her way to work.
An investigation into a horse shooting in Greenville County remains under investigation and is separate and not connected to this investigation.
Anita Williamson, who works at Tryon Equine Hospital in Columbus, North Carolina, and is the executive director of Polk Equine Emergency Rescue, said, “It always bears to keep a close eye on our horses, whether it’s animals or people harming them. It’s our responsibility as horse owners. I’m glad SLED did their investigating, and I know there is an increased presence of law enforcement in the area; you see them driving around, and they have an increased awareness of where horses are located, as well as where deer are getting poached. I think that’s a positive that has come out of this. Their finger is on the pulse, and that’s a good thing.”