GASTONIA Gaston County commissioners are standing behind Parks Director Cathy Hart following controversy over the rounding up and killing of 144 Canada geese at a county park last June.
Animal advocates showed up at Tuesday’s commissioners meeting with a petition with 6,000 names asking the board to fire Hart.
Instead, commissioners voiced their support for the parks director.
Board Chairman Mickey Price said on Wednesday that Hart had followed the proper steps in dealing with a geese issue she’d described as a public nuisance. He said she’d presented the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services’ plan to euthanize the geese to Gaston’s parks advisory board, which approved it.
In June, Hart told the Observer that the parks department killed the geese only after several other nonlethal efforts to remove them didn’t work. She said complaints about unsanitary droppings came from people walking the trails, fishing on the lakes, around playgrounds, athletic fields and restrooms.
Dallas Park facelift cited
Price said that the parks advisory board is in the process of getting a nonlethal wildfowl management program in place and invited animal advocates to get involved.
“We want to use their energy and knowledge,” Price said. “We want to move forward and get past the anger.”
Commissioners voted to support the application for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund matching grant of $500,000 to upgrade the Dallas Park for ballgames and tournaments. When the makeover is completed, Price said a waterfowl management program will be all the more necessary because “we don’t want geese messing up our dollars spent.”
Animal advocate Becky Duffeck of Dallas, who spoke at Tuesday’s commission meeting, still thinks Hart should be fired because “she mishandled everything.”
Even though Hart wasn’t fired, Duffeck said she was encouraged to hear commissioners say geese wouldn’t be killed anymore.
“You never get everything you want,” she said. “I wanted to bring awareness that Hart was responsible, but the main goal was stopping the slaughter of the geese.”
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less