Town faces backlash after geese are rounded up on Oakland beach, killed

Posted June 25, 2014, at 5:44 p.m.

OAKLAND, Maine — A gaggle of geese that caused a ruckus and a mess on the Oakland town beach are now dead.

The birds were euthanized, and animal lovers are asking why.

Residents say for years they could barely walk along the town beach without running into geese or stepping on their droppings.

People enjoying the beach Tuesday said they’re thrilled to see it cleaned up, but they were disappointed with the way experts solved the problem.

“I don’t really think they should have euthanized them,” Augusta resident Phyllis Strout said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture captured the 18 Canada geese Friday, then made the decision to euthanize them.

Oakland Town Manager Peter Nielsen refused to answer questions on camera Tuesday because he said he has received too much backlash since last week.

He did, however, defend town officials by saying they tried everything to mitigate the problem before calling in the USDA.

“We worked with Oakland to take a lot of approaches to try and resolve the issue,” Maine Wildlife Biologist Kendall Marden explained.

He says common efforts, that included reminding people not to feed the geese, putting up barriers on the property and harassing the animals, just didn’t work.

But people still want to know why the USDA decided to kill the animals instead of relocating them.

“Moving them from one place to another just causes other people problems, and likely they would just return because they do have wings and geese can fly,” Marden explained.

Marden knows that euthanizing isn’t the most popular option, but he says it’s necessary in some cases to control the increasing population of geese in Maine.

“I don’t agree with killing them,” Winslow resident June Hamlin said. “But I’m glad they’re doing something at the beach.”

Nielsen says he was aware euthanizing the birds was a possibility, but he says he made it clear to the USDA the town wanted them relocated.

He says he was surprised and saddened Monday to learn the birds had been killed.

CBS13 News has not been able to reach the USDA to find out why officials there decided euthanize the geese.

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