Wednesday, June 26, 2013

144 geese euthanized in Gaston Co. North Carolina


The only sign that there were ever geese Gaston County's Dall Park are the hundreds of feathers we found along the bank of the lake.

Resident Rebecca Duffeck showed us where she came to visit the Canada geese nearly every day at the Dallas Park. On Wednesday, Eyewitness News couldn't spot one of the birds after the county decided to euthanize the geese.

"It was sick on my stomach I have taken care of these geese and loved these geese for so many years and it broke my heart to find out she had actually gassed them," Duffeck said.

The County Parks and Recreation director said the decision to euthanize the birds came after years of complaints and concerns over health issues. Before taking action, they applied for a federal permit and contracted through USDA'S wildlife services.

"Each goose has waste of a pound and a half a day. And when you add that up with the total geese we are dealing with that's 200 pounds of waste a day," director Cathy Hart said.

The county said the decision to euthanize the birds only came after several attempts were made to keep them away. Channel 9 could see signs posted near the lakes warning park visitors about the problem.

"We tried chemical repellents that would supposedly repel the geese with smell. We tried growing the grass tall around the lake. We tried harassing them with dogs," Hart said.

None of it worked and Hart says the birds did not migrate away from the three lakes at the park instead staying year around. Duffeck looked out Wednesday over the lake and couldn't see any wildlife. She believes that is part of the reason people come here.

"It is a park. Look at it now What is it now -- nothing. It is empty. It has no character. Parks should have animals," Duffeck said.

The director said she regrets having to make this decision but was concerned about the health and safety of the nearly 80,000 people who visit the park every year.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue posted a message on its Facebook page saying it offered to help the county with removing the geese, but the birds were killed instead.

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