DALLAS, N.C. -- Animal advocates in Gaston County are appalled and speaking out after the county paid to have more than a hundred geese from a Dallas park euthanized. Rescue workers say they could have saved them.
"It was devastating. It was appalling."
Becky Duffeck has cared for the geese at the public park in Dallas for more than a dozen years.
As a volunteer for Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, she was shocked when she found they were all gone.
"I came out here yesterday and there was nothing, just nothing," said Duffeck.
Gaston County Parks and Recreation alerted local rescue workers months ago to a population problem.
"We had an over abundance of geese here. We had up to 150 any given day, and each goose produces up to a pound-and-a-half of waste per day," said Gaston Co. Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Heart.
Jennifer Gordon is with Waterfowl Rescue. She says they started a goose management process back in May, by already taking many of the geese out of the park and bringing them to their site in Indian Trail. Gordon says if they had a warning, they would have found a way to get the other geese out safely too.
"The first step is always to remove the domestics, and then you start a no feeding ban, so that it doesn't encourage the geese to come back," said Gordon.
But before they could do that, the county paid to have 144 geese euthanized.
"We understand they're a rescue group and they probably weren't equipped to deal with up to 150 Canadian geese," said Heart.
But Gordon says they could have and were going to save more of them.
"We had just literally been there, and we had birds-- a couple were limping and one had fishing line, and we were planning on coming out to get them," said Gordon.
Now Gordon says more geese will return, and she hopes they don't plan to keep killing them all.
Kathy Heart with the county says they don’t expect the problem to happen again, so they hope to not have to euthanize more in the future.