Gaggle of golf course geese gassed
Later, when persistent area residents learned the birds had been rounded up and euthanized by agents of the federal government, that news was reported with breathless abandon.
The story shocked people such as Lornie Palmgren, a Shalimar resident who has played the Tiger Point golf course.
But for those who shared the country club community with the geese, the news hardly ruffled a feather.
“I think there were probably a few people upset about it,” said Gulf Breeze area resident Grant Hibbard. “Not the Hibbards.”
Palmgren wondered why the animals had to be killed.
“They just friggin’ gassed them, they carbon (dioxide) poisoned them,” he said. “Why didn’t they just put them in a truck and take them to Iowa?”
Golf course officials, who did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday, apparently convinced the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they’d done everything in their power to shoo the geese away.
“Usually, by the time we get involved, people have tried a number of methods,” said USDA spokeswoman Carol Bannerman. “My understanding is that the golf course had tried sprays, repellants and dogs.”
Officials from the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service arrived at the course June 20. They herded the geese into trucks, drove them to an undisclosed location and euthanized them with carbon dioxide.
The fate of the birds remained a mystery for several days.
On June 28, the Pensacola Beach Blog, a local Web site, trumpeted its successful effort to “pin down the gory goose truth” that the birds had been euthanized.
Hibbard and his neighbor, Larry Bryant, the recent past president of the Tiger Point Village Homeowners Association, said the geese had become a nuisance.
“They had a negative influence on the golf,” Bryant said. “You’d walk up to the greens to putt and it was not good at all.”
Perhaps the biggest problem with Canada geese, according to experts and the residents, is that they are prodigious poopers.
Bannerman said a single goose is capable of producing a half-pound to a pound of feces each day.
“They came into my back yard and crapped all over the place,” Hibbard said. “And they crapped all over the golf course.”
Bryant said the Tiger Point geese did not migrate and that their population had grown continuously in the five years he’d been a homeowner in the golf community.
While Palmgren said he was sure there would be an uproar when news of the geese’s fate became widespread, the reaction hasn’t thus far been dramatically pro-goose.
Not even Santa Rosa County’s Francis M. Weston Audubon Society was willing to champion the goose cause.
“The geese on the golf course were not wildlife. They were more like pets, and a golf course is not natural habitat,” said Lucy Duncan, who writes for the society’s newsletter.
“The few geese they started with out there were put there by humans. So we have no official position at all.”
NOTE FROM CANADA GOOSE HALL OF SHAME:
We strongly object to the use of the word "euthanasia." Euthanasia is defined as the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.
The geese murdered in Gulf Breeze were not hopelessly sick or injured, nor was their death relatively painless. Being poisoned by carbon dioxide gas is an extremely cruel method of killing the healthy geese who hurt no one. Please CLICK HERE to see how geese are gassed.
What does it say about a community that sentences animals to death because they defecate? Obviously, humane methods have not been used. Golf courses in Winnipeg, Manitoba have been very successful driving geese away from golf courses by the use of professionally handled herding dogs. If they can do it, why not Tiger Point Golf and Country Club? It seems to us that the management is unwilling to use humane methods and prefers to shed the blood of the innocent geese instead.
Those of you who golf at this club and oppose their cruel and barbaric method of removing the geese should stop golfing there. Send the management a message that their cruel methods will not be condoned!