PITTSBURGH - Allegheny County is opposing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommendation to kill about half the estimated 700 Canada geese that have been making a mess in a park outside Pittsburgh.
The county wants to control them by other means, including destroying eggs, growing tall grass around the lake, and harassing the geese so they stay away from 3,010-acre North Park, county parks director Andrew G. Baechle said.
The county's plan has met with mixed reaction.
"That's fantastic, and we applaud their decision not to do that," said Stephanie Boyles, a wildlife biologist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "We would be happy to assist them in developing an effective, humane waterfowl program."
But some park users criticized the county's decision.
"It's terrible, absolutely terrible. I've hated these geese for ages," said Donald Fennell, 75, of Bellevue.
The Agriculture Department's wildlife services office estimates that a Canada goose releases 11/2 pounds of feces a day. That adds up to more than three tons a week in the park.
Since 2000, the county has shaken or poured oil on about 100 goose eggs a year to keep the population from growing, Baechle said.
The Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese also favors less-permanent methods.
"Issuing the geese a death warrant for doing what comes naturally is not only inhumane," said Sharon Pawlak, its national coordinator, "but completely unnecessary, given the success of many nonlethal goose-abatement programs."