US agriculture department: 103 geese rounded up, euthanized

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The USDA rounded up roughly 100 geese from a neighborhood in Virginia Beach after a majority of waterfront property owners filed a petition. The geese were reportedly euthanized and taken to become feed for other animals — and news of this is ruffling feathers.

“I enjoy seeing them every day. I have to wait for them to cross the street and that’s not always pleasant, but they brighten my day,” said King’s Grant resident Sue Dempsey.

There are roughly 1,500 homeowners in King’s Grant. About 40 live on a lake that they say is overpopulated with geese. Two-thirds of those homeowners signed a petition to have the USDA remove the geese. Those homeowners also own the private lake.

“My grand kids play in the yard. When it’s full of geese droppings, they can’t do it,” said Scott Mahrenholtz, a King’s Grant resident whose home sits on a private lake.

Mahrenholtz says he put up a fence on his property to keep the geese out. He says it’s the only way he’s able to grow grass.

“I have this two-foot chicken wire fence that looks like crap, but it keeps the geese out from doing this,” Mahrenholtz said, pointing to his neighbor’s yard. “She has no grass. She has spent a lot of money fertilizing and seeding this yard to no avail because the geese have eaten everything.”

But many like Sue Dempsey, who don’t live on the lake, felt blindsided by the removal and subsequent euthanization of the geese. They felt all homeowners should have been involved in seeking a solution.

“I think there are a lot of people here that are very opposed to the decision that was made. The intervention that was made. And I think we could have come together and come up with a solution,” she said.

Congressman Scott Taylor represents the 2nd District of Virginia and he issued a statement about the King’s Grant roundup after hearing from his constituents.

I have concerns about the roundup and subsequent euthanization of Canadian (Canada) geese in Virginia Beach recently by the Department of Agriculture. My office is requesting information on the process used for these roundups and to seek transparency for our community on this issue. Particularly troubling is the fact neither the city, nor the local Department of Agriculture office was aware of the roundup and euthanization. While we are cognizant of, and understand the nuisance posed by certain animals to property owners, we believe it would be in the best interest for our neighborhoods to understand this process better.”

Rep. Taylor also sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. It reads in part, “I believe it is important that our government institutions are accountable to the people they were created to serve. This belief has prompted me to write to you today in order to better understand USDA protocol for animal removal and strengthen communication between federal departments and the localities they serve.”

Taylor requested Sec. Perdue reply to five specific questions.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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