Method used to euthanize geese at state park in Ohio coming under fire

ATHENS, Ohio-- Strouds Run State Park in Athens, like many other parks and parking lots, and golf courses and beaches around the state, has become a place where Canadian geese will congregate.

A beautiful park with beaches and boating at the north end of Lake Dow, the birds can become a nusiance.

"Probably more just a nuisance being there and, you know, they can put down a lot of ...you know what," said Jim Leach, a frequent visitor to the park.

"Out here typically the geese are around the swimming area, sometimes around the dock," said Ed Spires.

Athens City Councilman Patrick McGee says he was first made aware that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was rounding up the birds when a witness brought it to his attention.

"He had been told that they were being relocated but he thought that to be rather strange so I started asking a few people if they knew what happened to the geese at Strouds Run," said McGee.

What he learned was that the birds were actally being euthanized.

"I heard some stories that perhaps they had been shot and then finally heard a story from someone who said they thought that they had been bludgeoned to death," said McGee.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources sent a written statement that reads:

"Forty-six Canada geese were removed more than two months ago from Strouds Run State Park. In June, a nuisance goose permit was obtained by Ohio State Parks to allow for the removal of geese that were frequenting the beach. Their presence was creating a health concern on the beach and negatively impacting the water quality.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends a “rapid loss of consciousness followed by car­diac or respiratory arrest and, ultimately, a loss of brain function,” when euthanizing animals. For this reason, a quick blow to the head was administered. "

But some, including McGee, wish they had chosen another way to eliminate the problem.

"I'm not going after them for recriminations saying what terrible people these are; what I would like to see is this to not happen in the future and to try some alternative means," said McGee.

Fox 8 News has done stories about a Cleveland-area company, Ohio Geese Control, which uses a border collie and other means to humanely chase geese away from where they are not wanted.

Among the other methods of euthanizing the birds approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association is gassing them.

"I'm a hunter.  I see no problem with hunting geese. I see no problems with using the animals to feed people; what I see problems with is what I would call the inhumane slaughter of these animals just because they are a nuisance to some people," added McGee.

It is not clear if the ODNR has used the same methods to eliminate geese at any of the state parks in Northeast Ohio.