Someone has been butchering hogs or wild boar in Bradenton and dumping the carcasses in Wares Creek, where a huge urban dredge project is set to begin.
The creek is the entryway to downtown Bradenton, and the first basin where the pigs have been dumped sits just off of the Manatee Avenue bridge and across from the mouth of the Manatee River.
If the pig carcasses aren't enough, the vultures that come to the area to feed on the carcasses can make the city's entry way look like something from a Stephen King novel.
The problem of the smelly, rotten carcasses in the waterfront neighborhood has gotten so bad that one man fished one out from under his dock, tied it to his boat and hauled it to the mouth of the Manatee River, where he tied it to a buoy hoping that nature would take care of the problem.
He reportedly said he thought it would attract sharks to take care of it. It did attract vultures that swooped in to help clean up. The crabs in the river also help clean up what falls. But no Great White came in to save the day by swallowing the whole hog and taking it back to sea.
And while vultures are God's waste management system, they come with their own problems. They might eat most of the decaying meat, but they leave their own deposits and destruction in the yards they visit. They also don't eat everything.
City workers were out on Wednesday afternoon picking up the remains of at least the seventh pig in six weeks.
All of this comes as the Wares Creek neighborhood has been celebrating the urban dredge project set to begin soon. A dredge company has been preparing the site for dredging the shallow creek, where the muddy bottom is often visible from Manatee Avenue.
Council member Patrick Roff, who represents the Wares Creek area, wants the city to pass an ordinance prohibiting animal slaughtering in Bradenton. If not that, he wants a law with some teeth that will allow Bradenton Police to go after the person or people dumping the carcasses in the creek.
"It's unsanitary, unsightly and not civilized," Roff said.
The city attorney said there may be a state law prohibiting dumping carcasses in the creek and if so, police can arrest violators under state law.
But it was clear during Wednesday's City Council work session that most of the council members thought the whole thing was a joke and just part of living in Florda. Wild boar can be found roaming out in Cortez, where there's a huge preserve. Coyotes are regularly seen inside Bradenton.
And last year, the city brought up the idea of passing an anti-slaughtering ordiannce after a spate of complaints about several families slaughtering and butchering animals for food in their yards.
Even the council of governments discussed this week the problem of massive mullet dumping in the area's waterways after plentiful catches this year, said Mayor Wayne Poston.
Roff said residents have "seen someone sitting on the seawall working on a carcass with a knife," sitting on the seawall butchering the animals. But the police told Roff there was little they could do about the problem. Given the number of pigs butchered and dumped over the past six weeks, Roff said he suspects someone in the area has started a business and is selling the meat because "no one can eat that much in six weeks."
"The police don't know what to do because we don't have an ordinance," Roff said.
Councilman Harold Byrd said there has to be some sort of solution to the problem. After all, he said, it's illegal to dump a bag of trash into the creek. There has to be something that can be done to prevent people from dumping a carcass over the seawall in downtown Bradenton.