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Vigil planned for geese killed in Gaston

DALLAS A candlelight vigil will be Friday at the Gaston County Park in Dallas for 144 Canada geese rounded up there and euthanized on June 25.

The master of ceremonies for the memorial, which starts at 6 p.m., will be Jennifer Gordon, executive director of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue of Indian Trial.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Health Inspection Service removed the geese, described by park officials as a public nuisance. The action caused outrage among some animal advocates.

Gaston County Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Hart said there had been a lot of complaints about unsanitary droppings from people walking the trails, fishing on the lakes and using the playgrounds, athletic fields and restrooms.

The birds were dumping 200 pounds of waste a day and “we cleaned it up as best we could,” Hart said.

Measures to reduce the birds’ impact, including ground sprays, didn’t work, she said.

Becky Duffeck, a Carolina Waterfowl Rescue volunteer who worked with the geese at the Dallas park, said she was “devastated” by their deaths.

“I loved the birds,” Duffeck said Wednesday. “I had gotten to know so many of their little individual personalities.”

Members of the rescue organization were willing to relocate the geese, she said, and the euthanization “was so unnecessary.”

Fliers for Friday’s vigil urge the community “to come out and support the memory of these beautiful animals that can’t speak for themselves.”

The purpose of the memorial is to “get the word out about what Gaston County is doing” and prevent it from happening again, Duffeck said.

“It wasn’t acceptable to kill those birds,” she said. “God put these animals in our care.”

DePriest: 704-868-7745
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