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Hogs On The Loose Cause Concerns

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Hogs from a local farm have been making their way onto city streets since last summer in Sterling, Illinois, and they're not welcomed by all. City leaders say that although there is a general understanding that Sterling is an agricultural community, the hogs are a public safety hazard when they travel just a few blocks away, into the city. Some residents say the combination of livestock and restaurants is another issue, noticing the smell.

"The smell is a little offensive," resident Jeff Kuchel said. "When you're going into Applebee's, and you're going to have a steak dinner, and then you smell the pig smell."

"It doesn't smell like perfume, for sure," Donna Johnson said.

Others aren't too fussed.

"I go out to Applebee's and eat, and I've never really noticed it," Arnold Austin said.

However, when a two to 300 pound hog shows up, residents say it's an unforgettable sight, as this is the first period of time that livestock have trickled into the city.

"If I was out there by myself at night, and I turned around, and I'd seen a pig," Kuchel said, "I'd probably think, is that a dog or what?"

"I guess it wouldn't bother me," Austin said. "I'm not afraid of pigs."
     
It's also the first time livestock have been based at the border. Over the years, Sterling has grown, lessening the gap from city to farmland.

"They were piglets when they first started to get out," Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard said. "At this point though, they're full-fledged hogs. Businesses are concerned about losing sales because people may drive past or take off before the sale is complete."

Shumard says there have been 10 police reports since December, but because the farm is outside of Sterling, the city can only wrangle the hogs once they're in town. The Department of Agriculture is working with the farmer on regulations like the amount of required ground cover and fencing.

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