Federal agents "euthanize" 272 Canada geese in Allegheny County
By Justin Vellucci
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Allegheny County officials announced Tuesday that 272 Canada geese were captured in North Park and exterminated last weekend -- despite promises to avoid lethal means of controlling the birds and their feces.

The action, conducted early Friday and Saturday by five federal Department of Agriculture officials, was the boldest step in a decade-long battle to manage the roughly 700 geese at the 3,010-acre county park.

Officials have addled hundreds of Canada goose eggs -- killing the birds before they hatch -- since at least 2000, but that and other measures have not worked to contain the bird's growing numbers, said parks Director Andrew G. Baechle.

"We're hoping this was a one-time correction to the Canada geese population in the park," Baechle said in a prepared statement.

Animal-rights groups quickly attacked the move, which they called a violation of earlier pledges to avoid euthanasia.

"Extermination was not the answer, and it is not going to be the answer," said Peter McKosky, 26, of the North Side, a wildlife coordinator with Voices for Animals of Western Pennsylvania. "They lied about what they were going to do. And now they're going to have to deal with a lot of ongoing controversy from people who appreciated the geese being there."

"Next June or next May, they'll get another crop of geese coming in from another place that will know nothing of this roundup," said David Feld of GeesePeace, a Virginia-based group that advocates nonlethal means of controlling the birds.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, in the meantime, objects to officials referring to last week's action as "euthanasia."

"That is not euthanasia. That is slaughtering those animals. That is massacring those animals," said Stephanie Boyles, a PETA wildlife biologist. "The word 'euthanasia' means 'good death' -- (and) what they did was not that. They sent them to a USDA slaughterhouse, and a death there is anything but humane."

Baechle said the county paid $7 to process each bird after they were "euthanized humanely." If the bird's flesh is free of contaminants, it will be donated to local food shelters. He declined to comment further.

USDA officials could not be reached late yesterday.

Justin Vellucci can be reached at or 412-320-7847.


It is deplorable and inexcusable that the word "euthanasia" is now being used to include grievous bodily harm with the intention to cause great suffering and death of healthy Canada geese.

The correct word should be massacre, mass slaughter, extermination, or murder.


They Killed Emily

 According to the Post-Gazette Editorial, "No harm, no fowl: The county was right to thin the goose flock," July 21, 2007, Emily was just a public nuisance, and should be killed. 

Emily is a Canada Goose who I rescued last year and nursed back to health.  I live in North Park, which is right at the Lake.  I knew nothing about geese before helping Emily.  After spending so much time with her, I learned how intelligent, affectionate and trusting a goose can be.  I have no doubt that the bond we developed would have lasted for life. 

 It was so rewarding to see Emily healthy again.  She would come to visit me every day, and I looked forward to seeing her.  She even recognized my car.

Dan Onorato said that, "No geese will be killed,” so I believed Emily was safe.  If I knew that he would go back on his word, I would have rescued her and taken her to a sanctuary.

I woke up last Wednesday to read that 272 geese were killed at North Park.  I ran out looking for Emily.  I fearfully drove around the lake searching for her.  I didn't see any geese.  They were gone.  They killed them all overnight!  I waited Thursday and Friday hoping that Emily escaped and would come back to visit me like always.  She never came.

Emily may have only been a public nuisance to the Post Gazette, but I loved her.

 Beth Kubit


North Park Clean Up

Saturday, July 28, 4:30 PM-7:30 PM 

Allegheny County officials' shameful excuse for killing 272
Canada geese in North Park was that the geese feces the birds
were leaving behind was creating an unsightly mess and park
visitors were complaining. However, on a recent trip to
North Park, Voice for Animals members found something that is
a far greater and more serious problem: the land, water, and
trees in the park were littered with discarded fishing
tackle. This trash left behind by human visitors not only
destroys the park, but it is also harmful and deadly to the
animals who live there. Animals are all too often
maimed, seriously injured, and killed when they come across
discarded fishing tackle. Hooks get stuck in their throats and
lacerate them, they get tangled and trapped in fishing line
and become incapacitated or the fishing line gets wrapped
around their throat where they either slowly suffocate or
starve to death, choke on ingested tackle, and can become
permanently disfigured and mutilated, literally losing life
and limb. In fact, out of the Canada geese who are left in
North Park, we found several who were victims of fishing
tackle injuries, including a goose with a hook stuck in her
mouth and a goose missing a foot. These geese are living
proof of the fact that catching and killing fishes not only
causes suffering to fishes, but causes other animals to suffer
as well. Furthermore, the park is littered with bottles, cans,
and other trash left behind by park visitors.

Therefore, Voices For Animals is holding a North Park Clean Up
Day this Saturday, July 28th, to go through the park and pick
up all the discarded fishing tackle and trash we can find to
thoroughly clean the park and make it a little safer for the
animals living there. We also intend to show the public just
how much of a hazardous mess humans make of North Park, and
while some park visitors point, blame, and have geese killed
for simply doing what comes naturally, they continually leave
behind an even bigger problem by their own laziness
and indifference.

Please join us in North Park from 4:30 PM-7:30 PM Saturday for
a North Park Clean Up action. We will meet in the North Park
boathouse parking lot. If you have them, bring a pair of
gloves such as gardening gloves.

Candlelight Walk For the Geese

Saturday, 8:00 PM

Following the clean up action, we are holding a special
candlelight walk and vigil in memoriam of the 272 North Park
geese who were killed. We will walk a path around the lake
in a slow procession, each person holding a candle. The walk
will be about a half-hour.

We will reconvene at 7:45 PM in the boathouse parking lot to
meet up together again or have others join us and walk down
to the lake together. If you are coming for the clean up,
please stick around for this special memorial action. If you
can't make it to the clean up, please come out and join us in
remembering the geese in the spirit of working for the day
when humans are able to live peacefully with wildlife
and tragedies like this no longer happen.
  1. CLICK HERE to sign the North Park goose petition to try and prevent another massacre.
  1. Write a letter to North Park Director Andrew Baechle protesting the brutal massacre:
  2. Write a letter to Justin Vellucci at
  3. CLICK HERE to write a letter to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.