This letter was written to the editor of the Islip Bulletin and published March 9, 2006:

The idea of rounding up wildlife and slaughtering them is a horrible thought. What kind of cruel message does that send to the children of the community: If something causes a mess or gets in the way, just kill them??!! They see enough of that in their video games.

Aren't we supposed to be teaching them tolerance, kindness, and humanity? When we investigate the backgrounds of abusive adults, one thing discovered is that as children, they were mean to animals, torturing them while watching them suffer. Do we really need to see a community display that encourages animal cruelty? Geese live where there's water and that's a fact of nature and this IS Long Island.

Let's find a more humane way of solving the problem. Think of the message this action sends. It's not just about the birds. - Victoria M. Abellana

 This letter was written in response to the question of the week:

No, Canada geese should not be rounded up and killed. Obviously, such slaughters don't resolve the problem because new geese inevitably replace those that were slaughtered. Aside from being a barbaric ritual, killing them year after year just doesn't make any sense, and is hardly the kind of lesson we want to pass onto our children. (I always thought we were supposed to share the planet with other creatures, not hog it all to ourselves.) 

There are more humane ways to resolve goose/human conflicts. You're not far from at least several communities -- neighboring Manhasset and Greenwich (Ct.) -- that are working with Geesepeace to resolve such conflicts. Perhaps you should contact them.

I live in a small community where our lake is populated by both resident and migratory geese -- and we can't imagine life without our geese. City personnel remove goose droppings during mid-week cleanups, and sidewalks are frequently meticulous. Some of it is even left on the ground as a fertilizer. If there's additional poop during molting season, we organize poop patrols and clean it up ourselves. (Unlike dog poop, their poop has no odor because it's made up of recycled grass and thus is basically harmless, so it's no big deal.) 

What makes some communities more tolerant of geese than others? Perhaps that's an issue worth exploring. What you're really talking about changing here are attitudes, learning to live peacefully and amicably with other creatures, especially those who are so like us themselves. Canada geese mate for life, have a strong sense of family and the parents raise their young together. It's hard to justify killing them off - Mary Lou Simms. Please CLICK HERE to read Mary Lou's story and photos of the geese in her community.


These letters were published in the Islip Bulletin in response to their question of the week:


1. Should the human animal be rounded up and killed if they overpopulate a geese community? - Marianne Dominy

2. There are many ways to control the geese in our local parks and communities without slaughter. Creating an unfavorable environment for them, for instance. I know some communities will not allow dogs in a park yet pay a private agency to run theirs to rid the geese.

For this to be effective it must be done constantly. Why not let residents bring their dogs and get a free service? That would create an unfavorable environment for the geese and much needed exercise for our beloved family pets.

Let me also say we live on an ISLAND surrounded by water that brings us waterfowl. Let's remember to be thankful for the natural beauty that surrounds us and accept the good and bad that go with it. - Kathleen Dominy

3. Definitely not. First, this is a loaded question. Some people love geese and some people hate geese. For people who hate geese, one Canada goose is one too many.

For those of us who love geese, there is no overpopulation. Geese have a desire to survive. They realize an area is getting crowded with other geese. They need to compete for food sources. Often they will destroy the nests of competing geese in these situations.

Hence, true biological overpopulation is impossible. Canada geese are beautiful creatures. They are intelligent, brave, and extremely loyal to their "spouses" and family. Killing them will be cruel and it will make Brightwaters appear as a backward reactionary community - Earl Rosenbloom

4. It is shocking and appalling that geese and other wildlife should be rounded up and killed if they overpopulate a community. First of all, what is the definition of overpopulation? 200 geese? How about 5,000? Some people would consider a hundred or less to be overpopulation because to those people, one is too many.

Have we considered that the animals lived on the land first before we came along, tore their homes apart, and built our homes and cities on their homes?

We are not gods of nature. Everything on earth has a rightful reason for being here and it is not up to us to round them up and kill them because there are too many of them. - Choo Choo Love

5. Theirs is not a "hanging" crime, just nature that has been tampered with by man. You might look into prosecuting the agency people who "placed" geese in areas where they never lived before, all for the benefit of hunters, who are going extinct, themselves. Take some responsibility and create responsible solutions, not killing. - Kathryn Burton

6. I am horrified that there is another thought of slaughtering the geese. It is disgraceful to even think of killing these beautiful, innocent birds. There must be another way, even addling the eggs would be more merciful than killing the existing birds.

They are beautiful birds and although some people complain about their droppings they do not have any odor since they are vegetarians! Leave them alone!! Mayor McNulty of Brightwaters should be ashamed of his past actions. - Dottie Ward

The overpopulation of any wildlife is directly or indirectly from the hands of man. Geese are intelligent and compassionate. Where is our compassion?

Slaughering innocent animals time after time obviously doesn't work and therefore, is not the solution. Earth has tolerated a lot from man - perhaps it's time we learned the meaning of patience and tolerance. How do these hunters, with blood on their hands, sleep at night? - Debbie Gribben

7. I am totally against killing off Canada geese. I have a strong love for Canada geese. They are God's creatures, and they have as much right to be here as we do. Please don't kill them off. Let them live. - Joan DeVizia

8. You are so lucky that Canadian geese have chosen to live in Brightwaters. Unfortunately, these magnificent birds do not visit Australia. Contemplating their extermination is an attitude from a bygone era and totally barbaric, especially as other humane methods have been used elsewhere to deal with the problem. Besides, killing the birds will only leave a void, which other birds will fill. - Lynn Trakell

9. Slaughter geese? What's next, slaughtering people if an area is overpopulated? Why is killing the only option? - Vivienne Achiner


Donna Hooker from Oregon wrote this letter in response to the question of the week. Unfortunately, her letter was not published because she sent it in too late. However, we'll publish it here:

Please stop the killing of the geese. In our city, we educate children and adults on migratory birds. We have hundreds every year that come home and breed. We have what is called THE WINTER WINGS FESTIVAL, MIGRATORY BIRD DAY IN THE PARK, etc. to educate people on the migratory birds and their life in the wild. It is wonderful. We don't kill them. So cruel, especially when they are molting and cannot fly. Would you do that to people when the town is overpopulated!

We have several wetlands here in Oregon and tours to go out and photograph them in the wild. People need to be educated, seriously, about the beautiful Canada geese and other migratory birds. They are very social, loving, smart geese. I have raised one since she was a two-day old gosling. She is a little celebrity in our town, very imprinted on us. Her name is Tooties and you can read her story on on TOOTIES' PAGE.

When you are up close and personal to a Canada goose, you learn a lot. Tooties is 7 years old. People need to know that they have feelings, too, and are in pain when they are hurt or injured. I just don't understand why such a cowardly killing should take place. They are only doing what nature has intended them to do. People should take the time and look at them as a beautiful bird of nature instead of a nuisance to society. It breaks my heart to think that this is something people do instead of interacting with them and photographing them instead of killing them.

I am also a wildlife artist and I paint migratory birds. They are just so beautiful. Education is needed in that town. Please don't let this happen to these beautiful birds. - Donna Hooker, Oregon.


On March 2, 2006, we received this urgent message from Carol Bondy. Ms. Bondy is a resident of Brightwaters who has worked tirelessly to try and save the geese:

The Canadian Geese will be slaughtered once again in Brightwaters NY during the molting season.  I have been fighting the village of Brightwaters on this issue and trying to prevent it from happening again. The geese came first, not the residents. 
The Islip Bulletin had a great story on the topic of  killing the geese last week (please read the article below this letter) that I requested they put in the paper.
Feel free to flood the Village Mayor and his Trustees with letters.
Brightwaters Village Hall Mayor Joseph McNulty 40 Seneca Drive Brightwaters, NY 11718

Brightwaters Village residents divided over how to handle recurring bird problem.
February 23, 2006
By James Montalto
Year after year, resident Canada geese, formerly known as Canadian geese, flock to nesting areas in suburban communities, particularly those that are near bodies of water, causing a division among residents on how to handle decreasing the population.
Some perceive it as a problem and others perceive it as a blessing to have wildlife in the community. The problems seem to arise with residents who complain about the excessive amount of goose droppings that litter the community.
"The yards and sidewalks are absolutely filthy," Mayor Joseph McNulty said, referring to the approximately two pounds of excrement that each goose leaves every day.
However, McNulty added that after last year's roundup and preventative measures taken by Goose Control, Inc., a Port Washington based company that alleviates the influx of Canada geese through a variety of measures, including gassing the fowl, sending them to slaughterhouses and the addling of eggs resulted in a backlash from community members.
"For all the letters that I got thanking me, I had as many letters against it," McNulty said. He added that Mary Susan Belford, the parks trustee who is handling the goose controversy, has not yet progressed to having another roundup. "She is working with Goose Control, Inc.," he said. "I'm sure she doesn't have anything planned as far as rounding up."
Belford noted that the village has received a number of complaints about "visiting geese using their lawns." She confirmed that right now no roundup has been planned but the village is in discussions with Goose Control Inc. on ways to address the problem. (NOTE: ACCORDING TO CAROL BONDY, THIS IS NOT WHAT THE MEETING MINUTES SAY)
"We have tried many non-hurtful methods that haven't worked," Belford said, noting the village put up owls, utilized dogs, tried noises, and "nothing has really worked."
Brightwaters is a community with a rich ecosystem, complete with five lakes that empty into a canal, which flows into the Great South Bay and many residents are against getting rid of the geese, especially by roundup.
"I'm against it," Brightwaters resident Robert O'Meara said, referring to the destruction of the geese. "I think it's one of the best things about living in the area," he said, adding that he doesn't believe that the environment is the main concern of the village as goose droppings are considered dangerous to clam beds because it contributes to fecal coliform or the e-coli bacteria. (NOTE: PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR AN ARTICLE ABOUT GOOSE POOP AND FECAL COLIFORM AND E-COLI)
"What they do is add fecal coliform, but it's not fecal coliform that is dangerous to people," said David Feld, national program director for GeesePeace, a non-profit organization that seeks alternatives to destroying the wildlife and has had successful programs in communities on Long Island, California, and Stratford-on-Avon in England, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
However, Feld noted that clam beds are a different story and that he doesn't know if that would be a problem or not. But with the implementation of GeesePeace measures, "We can get them to go before causing a problem," he said.
The resident geese problem began nearly 60 years ago as hunters clipped the feathers of migratory geese to use as live decoys. As a result, the migratory geese population was decimated and the current resident geese population is unable to fly the 2,000 to 3,000 miles because migration is a learned behavior, Feld said.
One of the programs offered by GeesePeace consists of looking for nesting areas of resident geese, which nest at the end of March and all of April and "treat, replace or take down the nests so they don't have goslings," Feld said, adding if there are no goslings, the adult geese won't stay in the area.
"If geese are not born in the area, that then makes it possible to get geese to leave before molting, around late June and July," Feld said. "By Memorial Day most of the geese leave the area." Molting is the shedding of old feathers and for a brief period the birds cannot fly until replacement feathers grow back.
Carol Bundy, a Brightwaters resident, is also upset at the village and the possibility of another roundup. "They are giving priority to people who live on the lakes," she said, adding that residents paid a lot of money to live in a village that has wildlife. "It's sad they're doing this," she said.
Lakeside resident John Mannino agress with Bondy. "I think anyone who goes around killing wildlife should move to the city," he said, adding that he moved to Brightwaters to enjoy the wildlife and doesn't mind that the Canada geese defecate on his lawn. "There is a fox running around, should we kill him also?" Mannino asked.
Nick Maglaras, owner of Goose Control Inc. said that hopefully actions this year wouldn't require a roundup due to last year's measures and the implementation of no feeding rules. "It all depends on how many geese and the level of complaints there are to the village," he said.
Maglaras added that no decision has been made as to whether Brightwaters would retain Goose Control's services and that no decision will be made until late spring and until a permit is acquired from the US Fish and Wildlife Services.

July 3, 2005

More than 60 Canada geese have been rounded up and killed in the Village of Brightwaters in the past 10 days.

On Thursday, 13 geese were gassed one week after another 50 were rounded up, loaded into a truck and killed.

"It's very sad that the village has taken this piece of nature away from us," said Carol Bondy, a Brightwaters resident, who often has geese wander onto her lawn.

In the past two years, about 100 of the 150 geese in the area have been removed through the roundups and the destruction of their eggs, according to Lionel Puton of Goose Control Inc., the Port Washington-based firm hired by the village to reduce the population.

Goose Control has served other municipalities before. In 2002, it rounded up and slaughtered 700 geese in Belmont Lake State Park, Puton said.

The firm has about 10 clients per year, from municipalities to corporations.

Carmine M. Alfano, an outgoing village trustee who has fielded resident complaints, said the state Department of Environmental Conservation required the village to reduce the population[CORRECTION: The state Department of Environmental Conservation does not require municipalities to reduce their Canada goose populations. It issues a required permit to kill the geese, after permits are obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to Bill Fonda, citizen participant specialist with the DEC in Stony Brook. A story Sunday on goose control in the Village of Brightwaters mischaracterized the agency's role. pg. A19 NS 07/07/05] because the geese are defecating in the village's five lakes.

"Why didn't they relocate them?" said Barbara Herd, a village resident. "Why do they need to exterminate them?"

Nick Maglaras, president of Goose Control, said relocating the birds is ineffective because they keep coming back. Therefore, the company often sends them to a slaughterhouse and donates the geese to shelters.

The state required the program because the lakes flow into the Great South Bay, where it fears shellfish beds will be contaminated by the feces, Alfano said.

Each goose on average leaves 2 pounds of droppings per day, which increases coliform bacteria counts in the water, Puton said.

The roundup caught many residents by surprise. One resident was alarmed when she saw the Goose Control truck drive by with the birds' heads trying to poke out of the cages.

Residents say village officials failed to notify them of the geese-reduction program. Many called village hall to complain, and sought the help of animal rights groups to protest.

Alfano said he informed the public about the program at village meetings. However, only about 15 members of the public typically attend meetings, he added.