Living in Terror: What the Canada Geese and I Have in Common
Article posted by C.A.S.H. Committee To Abolish Sport Hunting

CLICK HERE for more from CASH COURIER NEWSLETTER, Fall-Winter 2018

By Debra Mucci

At the end of October, a resident and home owner in Middletown, NY, used her dog against the geese. That wasn’t the first time we had encountered each other. In 2017, she had also chased the geese with her dog, and her dog attempted to grab one goose by the neck. She walked away when she heard me scream.

This time, when I saw her egging on her dog to attack the geese, I called out to her to stop. She ran up to me, as close as two people can get, and screamed in my face that she was tired of me and the geese. During her tirade against me, she yelled that everyone hates me, adding that I was going to lose, and that I should just move.

After calling me vulgar names, she paused and asked what I was going to do about it and then called the police. The officer told me that she had accused me of threatening her. An absurd accusation considering her far greater size.

I notified the property managers, the board members, Hudson Valley Humane Law Enforcement, and an animal protection organization.

The following day, I was told by a board member that they were not going to do anything about my accusation since the geese were not injured, adding that they were tired of hearing about the geese, and they didn’t care.

Since living here, I have witnessed the following:

In 2017

  • I found a dead goose floating in the water that had been blown up by a bottle bomb. I notified the Hudson Valley Humane Law Enforcement and they came out and spoke to several home owners after numerous complaints about residents abusing geese. No further action was taken.
  • A condo owner cornered a goose against the fence on the lake side with his pit bull, terrifying the goose as it was honking in fear until another neighbor intervened. I found out that had been going on for at least two years. A neighbor reported that the culprit enjoyed watching the dog go for the geese.

In 2016

  • I  found a goose ripped to shreds against a tree and could not understand how that happened. Now I know.

Canada Goose

When I moved into the condo association in 2000, board members were using brooms and whips against the geese. One former board member, who has since moved, took half the wing off one goose rendering him unable to fly, all because the goose dared to go near her condo. This particular goose eventually died during the winter months alone and hungry as the other geese were able to leave and find food and shelter. This was reported to the managers, the board members and the police, yet nothing was done to stop the abuse. It was then that I took it upon myself to defend the geese.

Over the years, I have seen the president of the Phase 1 go into the lake with her boat and use her oars against the geese to beat whichever goose was unlucky enough to get within reach. This woman has been terrorizing the geese for years.

Several years ago, a home owner used a BB gun against the geese, and I found a dead goose with a large hole in his chest. I took pictures and forwarded them to the authorities, property managers, and board members, including pictures and a statement of what I saw prior to finding the dead goose, but nothing was ever done.

(I believe that a few of the residents are still on occasion using BB guns against the geese. )

Although it might be legal, starting two years ago, people started using fireworks at night on three sides of the lake. It terrifies me and my dog, and we’re both inside. It was done to put the fear of God into the geese to make them leave the area. They have not left. This practice is still done on occasion in the dark of night.

I’ve witnessed parents encouraging their kids to throw rocks and branches at the geese while the geese were on the lake swimming. One parent started having her young child harass me and my two dogs every time I walked down the street thinking that she could get away with it.

I’ve heard gunshots by the lake and reported it to the authorities, but nothing was done.

I know that the geese are being harassed by the same residents who have been terrorizing them for years, while the board members, the management company, the property managers, and most other residents look the other way, giving tacit approval of this horrific harassment.

I have been told outright by board members, the property managers, the management company and several residents that they do not care about the abuse of the geese on this lake. They do not want the geese on the property and will do whatever it takes to stop the geese from coming or staying here.

The board members, property management, the Management Company, and many residents feel that it is their God-given right to abuse these animals and no one can stop them or think about stopping them.

I was not the only person to complain. A few other residents have been shamed, abused, harassed and charged unwarranted fees etc. in order to make them comply with the management company’s ideology and stop complaining about the abuse. For the most part it worked. I know there are police reports for those complaints as well. Nothing has been done.

At this point in time, the condo association is under a new management company, RJB Community Management, though the condo property managers are the same as those who’ve been in charge since I moved in, and most of the board members remain the same.

I’m asking that you call RJB Community Management at 888-391-2311 Ext 711 and voice your displeasure with their lack of compassion and inaction over the cruelty that I’ve witnessed.

If you can help with suggestions, please contact me. I will not allow an abuser to silence me. I will not stop until the geese can live in peace and not be terrorized by dogs, BB guns, bottle bombs, guns, whips, and a general lack of civility. There’s no question that animals need rights and protection.


Debra Mucci is a condo owner and gutsy Canada goose protector. She can be reached at [email protected]


Editor’s Note:

C.A.S.H. called Sue McDonough, a former NYS police officer for 18 years, and a wildlife rehabilitator. Sue continues to provide education to both wildlife rehabilitators and police departments about laws that exist to permit arrests. Sue will be writing an article for our next issue. She directed us to the following New York State law to prove that arrests for cruelty against wildlife can be made.

Relevant text has been selected:

ARTICLE 26 OF THE AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW RELATING TO CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AI/cir916rev12-04.pdf

350. Definitions. 1. “Animal” as used in this article, includes every living creature except a human being. 2. “Torture” or “cruelty” includes every act, omission, or neglect, whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted. 

353. Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance. A person who overdrives, overloads, tortures or cruelly beats or unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates or kills any animal, whether wild or tame, and whether belonging to himself or to another, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, or neglects or refuses to furnish it such sustenance or drink, or causes, procures or permits any animal to be overdriven, overloaded, tortured, cruelly beaten, or unjustifiably injured, maimed, mutilated or killed, or to be deprived of necessary food or drink, or who willfully sets on foot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal, or any act tending to produce such cruelty, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.

371. Powers of peace officers. A constable or police officer must, and any agent or officer of any duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may issue an appearance ticket pursuant to section 150.20 of the criminal procedure law, summon or arrest, and bring before a court or magistrate having jurisdiction, any person offending against any of the provisions of article twenty-six of the agriculture and markets law.

Sue explained that it’s clear that a police officer, state police or otherwise MUST take action. A peace office, such as those working for SPCAs MAY take action.

So, yes, this law could have been used in the instances described above by Debra Mucci.

Arrow in Canada Goose

The Hudson Valley SPCA Humane Law Enforcement policy states the following:

What is Humane Law Enforcement?

Humane Law Enforcement is a division of law enforcement that is designed to protect domestic animals from abuse and neglect. New York State humane laws require that animals be provided with appropriate sanitary living conditions, food, water and medical treatment when they are sick or injured. According to humane laws, those who commit acts of violence or fail to care for the animals they are harboring can be punished with fines and/or imprisonment. Animals that are considered domestic under humane laws include dogs, cats, exotic pets and livestock such as cattle, horses, goats and chickens.

They say, “The Hudson Valley Humane Law Enforcement Division is the only law enforcement agency in Orange County that specializes in animal cruelty and abuse.”
http://hudsonvalleyhumanelaw.com/AboutUs.aspx

We are grateful to them for all that they do, but clearly wildlife is left out. Our call to them was answered and they said they simply don’t have the resources to deal with wildlife abuse, which they refer to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation! C.A.S.H. knows well how that would add to the misery of the geese. Sue McDonough plans to educate police and towns about this law in the New York area in the spring.

CLICK HERE for more from CASH COURIER NEWSLETTER, Fall-Winter 2018

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