SAN RAMON --- After the attacks this fall, for a few weeks there was peace in Henry Ranch.
After trappers caught and killed a dozen of the beasts, not a wild pig could be spotted anywhere, and there were no freshly ravaged lawns in the neighborhood.
But the porcine creatures have reappeared. They've reared their hungry heads and dragged their 200- to 300-pound bodies across homeowners' lawns here and elsewhere in the city, looking for grubs and bugs and digging their tusks into well-manicured plots of grass, wreaking thousands of dollars in damage.
"It's the story that never seems to go away," said Jeff Gault, operations division manager for the city's public services department. He said this year's pig problem is the worst he has seen in his 20 years of working for the city.
Homeowners in neighborhoods along the hills west of Interstate 680, ranging from Norris Canyon Road all the way to Alcosta Boulevard to the far south of the city, have reported a return of the offending swine, he said.
They've hit Henry Ranch and Crown Ridge developments, as well as Centennial Park.
Gault said he suspects the pigs come to feast in neighborhoods because the past two winters have been very dry, and they come from the hills in search of water and food.
Many of these neighborhoods had hoped that they'd earned a reprieve from more wild pig assaults, after attacks earlier this fall.
But no such luck.
In the hard hit Henry Ranch development west of Interstate 680, the neighborhood association decided to spend $8,000 to hire a private trapper, who caught and killed the dozen pigs between September and mid-October. The city offered to pay for half of that tab, since its neighboring public lands were also getting marauded by the hungry porkers.
But the feral marauders made their return to the neighborhood about two weeks ago.
Henry Ranch Drive residents Asim and Sameena Syed said that not only did they get their lawn pillaged by the pigs, but they also have seen them in a big pack at night near their home -- the most popular time for pig food raids.
"They're very big and black and very spooky," Sameena said. "If it keeps up like this, we'll have to do what the neighbors did and get a fake lawn."
Their neighbor, Bernat Rosner said he put in his fake grass three years ago, after he got sick of moles digging up his yard.
He didn't realilze the pigs would hate it too. "As it turned out, it's been an added bonus," he said.
For many homeowners it has been a source of continuing frustration, said Jason Marquez, manager of the Henry Ranch homeowners' association.
The association is not responsible for wild pig damage; that cost is up to homeowners, he said. But the problem is bad enough this year that the city took bids from three fencing contractors last week for a plan for some permanent fencing there.
But whether the majority of the neighborhood's 100 homeowners will vote to pay more in monthly assessments to cover the cost remains to be seen, he said. He pointed out that many of the hardest hit lawns are at the most expensive homes, where one would expect the wealthiest homeowners.
"And if not, then we're back at square one all over again," he said.
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/JoyceTsaiNews.