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Happy with the humane approach

Published July 14. 2012 09:01AM

Dear Editor:

To Franklin Township Supervisors

It is with great pleasure that I am writing to you today, regarding your decision to stop using live ammunition pertaining to the geese at the Phifer Ice Dam Park. After attending your monthly meeting on the 19th of last month, and presenting my two petitions to you, the supervisors, that I had compiled regarding the public's opinion on the township's use of lethal means only to 'control' the very few geese that had been visiting the park, we are extremely pleased that you are now taking a humane approach only in keeping those geese from becoming a 'nuisance' to the township.

In my first petition (89 signatures), that I had personally taken down to the park itself, which had visitors, and to the surrounding homes, because live ammunition was being discharged in the park, sometimes within feet of some of the homeowner's property that live on the border itself, to their complete outrage ... myself included!

In my second petition, on, an online method of getting the issue out there (366 signatures total), they were from Lehighton, and the immediate surrounding towns that are instrumental to our park's enjoyment and survival, and the consensus was exactly the same!

So that is 187 signatures in one month of effort to get opinions! Personally speaking, by when the remaining people who signed that online petition were from surrounding states, and for that matter, from all over the world. That speaks volumes to me, that even they thought the practice was inhumane, unnecessary and dangerous! After you, the township, had purchased the first pair of decoy swans, (but unfortunately, split them up into two ponds, thus making them ineffective), my husband and I purchased another pair.

The Carbon County Central Labor Chapter purchased another pair and another single swan was purchased by Anna Rehrig, so now there are a total of seven decoy swans in the three ponds, doing their jobs! We all thank you for putting them into the pond, although contrary to your staunch declaration, and at times outright mocking me and laughing among yourselves stating, "Boy, we're glad we didn't spend any more money on these decoys" in the last meeting, believing that they do not work, I have yet to see a single goose in the park/ponds, so apparently, they do in fact, work! Since the installation of the extra five decoys, I have personally witnessed scores of geese circling the park a few times, and then moving on! Maybe in Beltzville Lake they would not be a "threat," as to the scope of the size of the body of water, but here, where our park and ponds are so small, they are in fact, extremely effective!

As I've stated before in a previous letter you (the township) must expect and allow a few geese to come and visit the pools from time to time, (even the people in the park miss them!!) without shooting them, because it is only a practical expectation that when you are giving them the perfect environment, with plenty of short grass to eat and water to drink and swim in, they will come ... hence the term "water fowl"! I had stated to you that I did in fact harass any goose that I did see visit the park, because I did not want it/them shot, as I live on its border, and I expect that the police and any township worker or delegate of the township to do the same in the future, if it is necessary, as it is clearly in your permit that lethal is the last resort! And, if I can do it, so can you! I, and my fellow neighbors and visitors applaud your decision to stop using live ammunition in our very small park and I expect to see cooperation between all stated above and the below mentioned organization.

I have for the time being, taken down my petition regarding this issue, and also, have ceased taking my other petition down to the park and homes. Sadly, you made me feel at the last meeting that I was only a nuisance, and you were quite tired of hearing about this issue, which although may not be important to you personally, it is quite important to myself and the community. If you notice, I am also sending THE TIMES NEWS this letter. I was quite upset that you accused the reporter of THE TIMES NEWS, Ms. Gail Maholick, of slanting the coverage of those meetings my way when I was a speaker because it "sells papers."

Shocked, I said in the meeting after you stated that, that you were being extremely rude and disrespectful, and Reporter Maholick was only printing what was expressed in those meetings! If you don't approve of what is relayed to the public to read, perhaps you might change the way you do things in the future. Not for nothing, but I know reporter Maholick has covered your meetings for well over 10 years, because I read THE TIMES NEWS every month regarding those meetings, and she has never before been accused of such an insult! We trust that you will stick to your word that live ammunition will not be used anymore, and even if the geese do return (in large volumes only) you will find humane and non-lethal methods to deal with them like many, many other communities do. I am however, quite a bit disappointed that Lynsey Dasher from the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) had written to you on two separate occasions, the first on June 13 and again on June 29 asking you to please contact her regarding the many, many humane ways of dealing with Canada geese, considering they are the experts and yet to date, you have not even given them the courtesy of getting back to her at all, and this I do not understand! It would not cost the township a penny to speak to her and implement their tried and true methods of non lethal goose control that communities across the country have used for years!

Also, at last month's meeting, you and your township workers were upset that some of the responses from the readers of the TIMES NEWS articles covering the issue, and the letters published by myself were harsh, yet you were doing things that did warrant those responses! That 'shoot first, ask questions later' mentality is exactly the reason for those comments! Perhaps, if you would show the community that you are willing to put some extra time and energy into humane only ways of dealing with this issue, the public persona of you would be much more positive! So, please, please, contact her! I do thank you all for your valuable time involving this issue, and only have the utmost respect for the township, your employees, and the Franklin Township Police and hopefully we can all work together for many years to keep our very fine park a place for everyone to enjoy people, ducks and yes, even the occasional geese!!


Debra DeHauski-Whiteman

Terry J. Whiteman,

Franklin Township

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