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Death of swan, goose in Smithtown pond under investigation

Dead birds were found in Millers Pond in

Dead birds were found in Millers Pond in Smithtown. Credit: James Carbone

Suffolk County SPCA is investigating bird deaths at Millers Pond in Smithtown after receiving a tip Wednesday, Chief Roy Gross said.

Gross said his officers found carcasses of a swan and a goose that were too badly decomposed to determine a cause of death. “It’s hard to determine if it was an act of animal cruelty,” he said. “It may have been an animal” that killed them. Well-meaning humans can also harm birds by feeding them bread, he said.

SPCA officers are asking the public “if they saw anything or if they suspect animal cruelty, please contact Suffolk SPCA at 631-382-7722,” he said.

Smithtown resident Steven Petito said he called authorities Wednesday morning after seeing four dead birds while walking his dog in the Suffolk County park. The first was a swan floating head-down about 10 feet from the shore. He saw another dead bird toward the back of the pond and, later, two dead ducks.

“It’s disconcerting,” he said. “There were always geese and ducks over there and now there’s nothing. Everything’s gone.”

Petito said he wondered if the pond’s “thick and murky” water could be an issue. “I’ve lived here 10 years and never seen the pond with this much algae in it,” he said.

A Suffolk County spokesman said county officials had asked the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate the matter. A DEC spokeswoman said in a statement that agency staffers were analyzing the birds to determine the cause of death. The DEC “is also investigating any possible water quality issues at this site, and our investigation will determine next steps to properly protect public health and the environment,” she wrote.

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