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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Geesebusters come to Scarsdale this weekend to reduce flock
February 28, 2013

By BETTY MING LIU  [email protected]

Animal activists fight to protect geeseGroup protests the killing of golf course geeseGeese from Westchester golf course turned into food

Geese in MamaroneckAnimal sightings in Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley

Scarsdale officials who are desperate for a humane way to control a growing resident geese population are calling in the Geesebusters this weekend in hopes of scaring away the messy lovebirds known for leaving behind a trail of droppings.

The village, which brokered a federal contract to cull its local geese community, changed its mind in January after protesters spoke out at public meetings. Instead, it has signed a $4,250 contract to bring in Geesebusters, a Long Island company that flies kites that look like eagles and uses whistles to keep geese on the move.

"We're hopeful that it works," said John Goodwin, assistant to the village manager. "If not, we can reassess next year and try to find another program and consider something else."

Now that mating season has started for local geese, municipalities are searching for ways to stop the egg laying that will hatch a new generation of goslings. They will soon be joined by migrators flying through the area who sometimes stay once they develop a comfortable routine.

"They'll be here soon since the weather's warming up," said Jason Marra, Scarsdale's acting superintendent of parks and recreation, who is keeping an eye on the village's two most popular geese hangouts, the Audrey Hockberg Pond behind the Scarsdale Public Library and the ballfields at Crossway Field.

Meanwhile in Mamaroneck, Mayor Norm Rosenblum is still recovering from Wednesday night's about-face by the village board during a heated meeting that has put on hold plans to round up and euthanize some of its year-round geese.

Geese control was not on the trustees' agenda for the board meeting but opposition to an upcoming summer culling was the hot topic anyway, Rosenblum said. By the end of an intense evening dominated by protesters, the board voted against killing geese, which will probably lead to the cancellation of the contract the village signed last fall with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the only agency in the country authorized to round up and gas the birds.

The matter will be up for a review on Monday, when USDA representatives meet with trustees to discuss both the overall contract and nonlethal population control options.

"It's a purely emotional discussion . . . but that's democracy," Rosenblum said.

"You have to go with the majority of the board of trustees even though I disagree with it. I certainly don't believe it represents the silent majority of the village of Mamaroneck who are users of Harbor Island and Columbus Parks."
While geese advocate Kiley Blackman said she is "very happy" at the latest turn of events, she noted that the Mamaroneck contract still has to be formally canceled.

"With the right encouragement, I think they will make the right decision," she added. "We are fighting for those of us who can't fight for themselves."

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