Dozens of geese killed after complaint
Monday, August 6, 2007

TRACYTON, Wash. – A government goose kill has sparked outrage in a Kitsap County community.

More than 100 geese and their goslings were killed recently, apparently at the request of one irate resident.

The view from Janet Christopherson's waterfront home isn't quite as beautiful to her these days.

"It's real quiet. You don't see them in the evening or in the morning," she said.

More than 100 Canada geese are gone. They were rounded up and gassed by the government.

"It was amazing that they took every goose. They didn't leave a small population," she said.

The birds had apparently become a bother to a few people living along Dyes Inlet, fouling docks, decks and lawns. Some staked flashy Mylar ribbons along their property lines to keep the geese away, but somebody decided to take matters one major step further.

One lone neighbor with a gripe against the geese had them all wiped out – all 115 of them, and all he had to do was write a check to the government for $700.

For that fee, the USDA's Wildlife Services Office captured and killed the geese as allowed under federal law.

The department's director says his office is "caught in the middle" of a difficult situation and officials are "trying to find a better way to approach" cases like this.

He said, officials canvassed the community and found that four people who supported the eradication.

But Janet Christopherson says that's a far cry from a majority and she worries about how far the policy could go.

"If you don't like seagulls, do you do that? If you don't like the bald eagles, if you don't like the crows?" she wondered.

The homeowner who is believed to have called for the eradication was unavailable for comment.