RANKIN COUNTY, MS (WLBT) – Plans were underway to catch and euthanize geese that are ruffling feathers with the mess they're making at the reservoir.
But a campaign by irate animal lovers has now spared the birds.
George Hodges of Rankin County said geese like the ones at Lakeshore Park near the reservoir should not be targeted for slaughter because they may be a nuisance to residents.
"It's wrong to kill an animal you're not going to eat," said Hodges.
The private investigator said he was outraged to hear the news after spending a month on the gulf coast rescuing and cleaning pelicans and other wildlife.
"To come back home and see the barbarity, I mean it's plain inhumane treatment to round these animals up and euthanize them," said Hodges.
Reservoir officials said resident complaints have increased over the past three to four years about the geese droppings covering the shoreline, boat ramps, parks, play and picnic areas and even their homes.
The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Agriculture $1,000 to capture 150 geese.
Officials said the Agriculture Department's practice is to euthanize them with carbon dioxide.
Hodges, a Sandhill resident, began contacting federal agencies to stop the birds from being harmed.
"It is a safety hazard and a sanitary problem. It could be a health problem," said Reservoir Executive Director John Sigman.
He said many residents support removing and killing the geese while still others oppose it.
Sigman and Hodges have worked out a solution.
"We've had a number of calls this morning from people who were objecting stringently to the euthanization, and we checked with the USDA and that is their program, that is their policy. But we asked them could they transport the geese to a release site," said Sigman.
Hodges said he has found a sanctuary in southern Georgia that will take the geese.
Reservoir officials will have to pay the USDA for the initial capture and additional mileage for transporting the birds to the sanctuaries.
But there are thousands of geese in the area and no guarantee they won't return.
"We're gonna do the best we can to monitor that and see if the same geese come back," said Sigman.
Hodges, who said he is a lifetime member of the American Eagle Society, accuses people of contributing to the problem by feeding the geese.
"Leave the birds alone. They're not hurting anybody and a little bit of pooh, that's not hurting anybody," added Hodges.
The birds will be moved later this month or in early July.
Reservoir officials said they will monitor the geese population to see if the same birds return.
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