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Residents against inhumane practice of shooting Canada geese

Published April 14. 2012 09:01AM

Dear Editor

To Franklin Township Supervisors:

We are writing this letter to you today regarding the inhumane practice of the Township/Police Dept. in the slaughtering of the Canada geese at The Phifers Ice Dams. We realize/understand the main reason (their droppings) for wanting the 'removal' of the Geese, but are in TOTAL PROTEST of the method used: which is SHOOTING them at close range with a shotgun.

These Geese do not know they are a nuisance, they have made these ponds their home for years, which in nature, is their usual habitat. In the winter, they are left undisturbed for months, so to them, this is their home ... BUT, when the 'NICE' weather comes, which brings out the fisherman (I (Debra) am among them, but do not complain about their 'droppings'! ), walkers, kids at the park and of course, the Little League Baseball Teams, etc., it becomes quite a different story.

We live at the top of the park, which is literally our 'backyard', one of the reasons we bought this house to start with, and find it incredibly disturbing and horrifying to hear the shotgun blasts and see the people shooting them, and then just throwing them into the backs of their trucks as if they were garbage! I (Debra) spoke to Chief Beltz the other day about the specially obtained License and all reasons pertaining to acquiring this, and he told me it was Federally obtained from the Dept. of US Fish and Wildlife. Regardless, these Geese are Migratory Birds and are covered by 'The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, covered in USC Title 16, Chapter 7, Subchapter 11'.

I mentioned to him, that I had mentioned to one of the very nice employees in the office (Brenda) about obtaining pairs of plastic swans, as they are the Canada Geese natural enemies, and would help greatly, if not stop this problem. He assured me that if they were purchased and implemented, (he even said he would help get them in the ponds! ), that he would 'back off' for at least a few weeks to see if they made a difference.

I feel that this is a fair enough compromise to the alternative. And, I would assume that if this greatly helps the problem, that the few geese that will still come, will not be a 'problem', but an added beauty and not shot. I don't believe that there's a pond anywhere that does not have some geese that live there!

I am hand-delivering this letter and also information from six different websites printed off my computer that offers beautiful Swan decoys. They range between $42.80 each to $69.99 each. Personally, I think the least expensive ones are identical to the most expensive, which can either be floating with a nice long line so they move with the breeze, to staking them to the ground near the ponds.

We would recommend putting two Swans at each of the three ponds, maybe one in the water and one on the bank. Everything we have read on this recommends moving them occasionally, so the geese do not get 'used' to them, and we would personally have no problem moving around the staked ones ourselves, since we live right here near the park.

We feel this would not be a great expense to the townships budget and can be obtained right away and not have to wait until the next meeting, which is almost three weeks away!

Also, a year or so ago, a gentleman from the Lions Club said that rubber snakes are also an natural excellent deterrent to the geese! Those certainly, cannot be more than a few dollars each, and also maybe can be staked to the banks of the ponds where the geese congregate the most. We feel that these measures MUST be tried before any more geese are shot, as we are not the only people who are outraged at this most hideous practice!

Just so you know, we have posted our disgust on Face Book and have received many views that match ours ... and some do not even live in the area! We've been already contacted by several local newspapers in our area regarding this, but have for now, said that we are giving the Township an opportunity to remedy this situation with non-lethal methods. We've also already spoken to one of the Carbon County Commissioners, The State Representatives office and the Majority Chairman of the House Fish and Game Committee, and explained to them the same thing we told the newspapers. If before these methods are implemented, the next time we hear any shots in the park, you will leave us no choice but to act, and, we WILL videotape it or take pictures of the incident and post it on U-Tube for all the world to see, and contact every newspaper and the above named agencies with the evidence, whether the practice of shooting these geese is legal or not.

All everyone is asking for is that these non-lethal methods to be given a fair and timely tryout before any more of these beautiful, federally protected birds are shot, thinking they are in no harm, and walking right up to the person, who is instead, executing them. We will be sending a copy of this letter to all of the above mentioned parties, to show good intent on all sides. We thank you for your time and hope to hear from you, and see the swans/snakes implemented in/around all three of the ponds in a very timely manner, to remedy this situation, ASAP. Again, all we're looking for is a way to make everyone happy (especially, the poor geese! ), and we believe that compromise and cooperation is always the best solution. Thank you all again and have a wonderful day. Sincerely,

Debra DeHauski-Whitemanand Terry J. Whiteman,

Franklin Township

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