Articles and Media CoverageLatimer bill would require hearing before killing Canada geese
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Latimer bill would require hearing before killing Canada geese

February 20, 2014

State Sen. George Latimer wants wildlife officials to hold a public hearing before issuing a permit to round up and kill Canada geese.

His proposed legislation would require the state Department of Environmental Conservation to publicly discuss why such lethal action is needed. Municipalities and other landowners, such as lake districts, sometimes seek state and federal permission to reduce flocks of geese living on golf courses or inhabiting beaches. The undertaking often just involves paperwork and little public debate.

“We’re creating a more formal process before a geese kill can occur,” said Latimer, D-Rye. “We’re not taking any power away from a municipality to ask (for permission) or from DEC to grant (permission).”

When Latimer introduces his bill, it will be the second piece of legislation dealing with waterfowl issues throughout the state. Sen. Tony Avella introduced a measure in Albany last week to establish a two-year moratorium on New York’s plan to eliminate mute swans in the wild by 2025. A Queens Democrat, Avella wants the DEC to prove swans are actually damaging the environment or harming other species, as the agency claims.

Suburbia’s lawns and parks provide ample food for Canada geese and numerous ponds and lakes offer safe havens. Actual or proposed goose culls across the Lower Hudson Valley in recent years have generated some public opposition.

In 2012, 470 geese were captured on Westchester County’s Sprain Lake Golf Course and sent to an upstate processing plant to be slaughtered. Kiley Blackman of Yonkers, a local animal activist, worked with Latimer to develop the legislation which, she hopes, will limit future roundups.

“We want some restraints. They will have to jump through some hoops they don’t have to jump through now,” she said.

Latimer’s measure would also require a public hearing for any plans to slaughter wild turkeys. That aspect stems from the round up and killing of 80 turkeys near a Staten Island psychiatric hospital last year.

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