Town rethinks plan to euthanize Canada geese

The Town of North Hempstead has entered into

The Town of North Hempstead has entered into an agreement with the USDA to euthanize flocks of geese that are damaging town parks and other properties. (May 10, 2013) (Credit: Mark Bellew)

North Hempstead officials are rethinking their plan to call in federal workers to kill Canada geese residing in town parks after the idea raised a hue and cry among wildlife advocates, who plan to protest Thursday in front of town hall.

"Everything's on hold until we sort out what the best approach to take is," Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman said Tuesday. "From our perspective, it's important that we reduce the impact of the geese on our parks."

The town board voted last month to contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to herd, crate and euthanize the resident goose population in town parks, then send them to be processed into food and donated to charity.


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Town officials took the action after they said other measures, such as oiling eggs so they don't hatch and using dogs to scare off geese, proved ineffective. The geese, which are not native to the area and have no natural predators, produce voluminous amounts of droppings, which foul waterways and fields, according to the town.

Last week's town board meeting attracted 50 residents and wildlife advocates who spoke out against the plan for about an hour.

Edita Birnkrant, New York director of Friends of Animals, said Thursday afternoon's protest, to be held in conjunction with Malverne-based Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, is designed to "send a very strong message" to town officials.

"What we're hoping is that the kill option will be completely taken off the table," Birnkrant said. "We will not rest easy until we know every single goose and their babies will be safe in the Town of North Hempstead."

Kaiman said he didn't expect the matter to appear on next month's town board agenda, but he was open to hearing all options.

"If there's a way to do it that creates less friction, then so much the better," he said.

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