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Geese Stirring Up Debate In Scarsdale

The talks over how to deal with the Canada geese in the village of Scarsdale has taken center stage in the news this week and sparked protests.

Although many consider them protected wildlife, others call them a feathered mess.

This week, the Canada geese here in Scarsdale are stirring up quite the controversy. Add to that some face time for these webbed natives on TV and print news, two differing view points, and now the battle over the Geese has begun.

This week, Newsday, Lohud, MyFoxNY, the Associated Press and NBC 4 reported on the bird dilemma. At issue, the measures the Village plans on using to keep the geese population under control.

Boiled down, the village wants to kill the geese and use the bird meat to feed the needy, via the Westchester Food Bank, according to Newsday.com. The problem is the geese are making a mess of the pond area and fecal matter is getting into the Bronx River waterway.

Scarsdale's Village Manager Alfred A. Gatta told LoHud.com that the village tried to use a border collie and noisemakers to get rid of the geese, but the attempts failed. 

The animal advocates want a more humane solution.

According to media reports, the village would use hired USDA agents over the summer to kill the geese that live near the pond by the Scarsdale Public Library.

Protesters are speaking out online through petitons. The petitionsite.com has 400 signatures against the village's measures to kill the geese.

The petition states:
"People should sign this because animal have rights, but can't speak for themselves, and people plan to kill geese as an answer to normal behavior. There are humane alternatives, which should be considered before just "doing away with the geese" as is their disturbing plan."

The Friends of Animal advocacy group is also speaking out against the plan.

“Canada geese, a bird native to North America, should live free of harassment and harm in Scarsdale, and throughout its range," Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of Friends of Animals, said in a statement.

Birnkrant said Gatta’s "complaints about goose droppings are illogical...as Gatta could easily implement a proven plan to remove fecal matter if it's accumulating in public areas. Human litter is picked up, the group says, and residents pick up after their dogs."

"What's needed is an attitude adjustment," Birnkrant said. "Not a bloody round up and shooting project."

The Friends of Animals calls goose roundups "monstrous" and describe the USDA's process of stuffing "the bound, panicked geese and babies into crates. Next, the geese are gassed or shot to death. Does Gatta imagine such immorality is preferable to cleaning the grass?"

The group is asking the village to seek alternative methods to deal with the issue.

What's your view of this feathered controversy? Share your thoughts here.

ASteinberg January 24, 2013 at 02:36 PM
There has never been any documented case of anyone ever getting sick from goose poop - this includes rescuers working in disaster areas with huge volumes of birds. animals dropping are largely biodegradable and suited to the environment. In fact, you won't find better grass fertilizer than goose droppings. if nature evolved animals to live in water, you better believe what they do in it is harmless. I would not be surprised if dredging the pond revelaed beer cans or other things that people threw in. You' re in more danger shakling hands with most people.
Laura January 25, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Thanks for your post and concern about suffering. Please know the baby geese are left to suffer, when the USDA removes (kills) the parent Geese. It is pretty heart breaking to watch. ...And the USDA can only do the killings when they can catch the Geese, and the USDA can only catch the Geese when the Geese are grounded with flightless goslings. The gosling's suffering occurs in June.
Laura January 25, 2013 at 01:43 AM
The goose dinners are not fit for human consumption - unless the mission is to also kill the 'overpopulation' of homeless people.
Laura January 25, 2013 at 01:47 AM
Good point, Dennis. Part of the reason for the Geese evolving into resident Geese, vs. those who migrate back to Canada - is the USDA removed (killed) parents and left goslings. The goslings did not know/learn to migrate.
ASteinberg January 25, 2013 at 03:25 PM
The next order fo business for the good people of Scarsdale is to call for the resignation of the ABYSMAL town leadership. These incompetent people did not intelligently look into the issue of successfully managing goose populations (and my understanding is, the group of geese at the pond is not a large flock by any means), they went right to kill, calling in the worst organization, the USDA - a group that 5 Congressmen are calling to be investigated for excessive killing of animals and misuse of taxpayer funds. They furthermore made this decision without telling anyone - the town found out reading it in the news. If these people don't even know how to manage geese, they have already proved that they are unfit to manage people.

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