Killing of javelina leads to controversy

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While javelina love to roam the great outdoors, sometimes those great outdoors are in town.

William Schmaltz said four javelina were shot and killed in his front yard Sunday. The animals were part of a North Scottsdale herd that had grown too large and had lost its fear of people due to illegal feeding by some residents.

Some of Schmaltz's neighbors also had their dogs wounded by the animals' razor-sharp teeth.

After Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists decided the herd needed to be thinned, Wildlife Services, a federal agency, was contracted to do the shooting.

Even though Schmaltz hadn't been the one to notify Game and Fish, he's still glad some of the animals are no longer eating his lemons, oranges and, most importantly, his prickly pear. 

"They left nothing to make preserves," he said.

But 26-year-old Brandon Creager, who has grown up around wildlife in this desert neighborhood, isn't happy about the killings because he doesn't see the javelina as a threat.

Creager has taken pictures of both adult and newly born javelina as they rummage outside his home, bunching together at the front gate. Now he's sure at least some of the animals he's photographed are no longer alive.

"They were part of the family," he said.

If you'd like to know more about how to avoid problems with wildlife in urban areas, check out the Arizona Game and Fish website and remember, you almost always issue a death warrant to any wild animal you feed.