SOUTHINGTON — Residents say the Spring Lake Village senior living community has voted to euthanize Canada geese residing around the complex’s lake after weeks of “contentious debate.”
“There are still a lot of people who are very upset about it, but there’s not much we can do,” said resident Susan Sullivan.
Sullivan said the decision to euthanize the birds was announced at a Tuesday Roads and Recreation Committee meeting, the village board which drafted the proposal.
State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Chris Collibee said Thursday the agency received an application this week from Spring Lake Village to euthanize the geese. The application has yet to be reviewed.
Lee Sawyer, of DEEP, previously told the Record-Journal euthanization would need to be approved by the state. He said the department has cooperated before with other condominium associations in exterminating Canada geese.
According to a notice from the committee sent to residents last month, the number of geese and their feces have generated many complaints within the complex. The notice stated that 80 Canada geese had been counted residing around the lake and ended with a ballot where residents could vote “yes” or “no” on a plan to euthanize the birds.
“It’s gross, it’s disgusting, but that doesn’t mean we have to kill the geese,” Sullivan said of the feces. “It doesn’t smell, it’s just messy. You don’t kill something just because it’s messy.”
She said non-lethal efforts to manage the geese outlined in the notice were conducted too sporadically to be effective.
“I applaud their efforts at trying to block their round-up,” said Connecticut Humane Society Director Annie Hornish, who advised residents opposing the proposal. “Killing is a very temporary fix, all that does is create a cycle.”
She said non-lethal methods of goose population control recommended by the society are more effective. She pointed to coating eggs with an oil, which can prevent the eggs from hatching.
Hornish also said using trained professionals to scare geese with dogs, or making the environment less friendly to waterfowl by planting species of grass disliked by the birds can control the population.
“Rounding up and killing entire flocks is inhumane and doesn’t work,” Hornish said. “If that’s the only thing that’s done, what you have, essentially, is good real estate for geese.”
Speaking before the vote was tallied, resident Bill Melican said the Roads and Recreation committee had attempted to reduce the geese with dogs, flashing lights and noise, with little success.
“It doesn’t seem there’s any results at all,” he said. “The geese are nice, but there’s too many of them.”
The DEEP website describes the euthanization process: “Geese are herded into portable nets and euthanized, and the meat is donated to soup kitchens and the needy.”
DEEP says hazing or scaring the geese is among the most effective method of discouraging geese from nesting, although it must be employed consistently. It also urges residents and businesses to refrain from feeding waterfowl, as it often is the reason geese congregate in an area.
“Feeding often leads to persistent goose problems, particularly in urban areas. It attracts geese to an area, keeps them there, and conditions them to lose their fear of humans,” the website says.