Letter to the Editor

printed 09/07/2018

Editor,

It is a watershed occurrence when 290 geese are “euthanized” without the association’s residents being aware, as happened June 2018 in Ocean Pines, a homeowners association community near Ocean City.

Sometimes, we hear people claiming that Canada geese are responsible for human disease and water pollution. Fifteen years of information on water quality in Maryland and other states do not support this claim and instead point the finger at human and chicken sewage, the use of lawn fertilizers, as well as agricultural runoff.

Additionally, medical literature as well as information from the CDC and NIH including 200-plus recent medical publications does not identify or implicate Canada geese as a source of bacterial illness.

Of course, if you pick up a goose or its poop, you might pick up parasites, but rarely, and most of these little buggers do not cause sickness in humans. And, of course, geese poop is grass, plain and simple. What’s the problem with grass in the water or land?

So, the real “elephant in the room” is why the Pines, in particular their Environmental Committee, a group of five men (which is supervised by the Ocean Pines Board of Directors), made this decision.

So far, there have been no cursory or substantive explanations. Please do not tell us that the explanation for why is found in the literature of agencies that “euthanize” geese.

The same agency, in fact, removed 190 more geese than the Ocean Pines contract, a seemingly predatory financial move. Really? Are we going to base decisions on their information? Decisions based on this information would not only be naïve but grossly irresponsible?

More than likely, the decision to euthanize was based on residents’ complaints of inconvenience (poop in their yard, oh my … ) and/or information passed from one to another that ends in “a hodge-podge” of misinformation on the tail end.

Maybe the decision was made just because they could make it? Maybe it reflects the lack of empathy that has occurred on Ocean Pines roads when large groups of geese are deliberately run over.

Whatever the process, it is saddening that reason, due diligence and respect for wildlife did not enter into the equation, and resulted in the “killing fields” in Ocean Pines.

Perhaps the OPA could rationalize the decision to kill, stating the Ocean Pines ponds “cannot sustain” this volume of geese; but, again … why?

It is reported that the OPA has a goose poop cleanup machine and can use collies to briefly herd geese away from community spots in Ocean Pines. That is a reasonable plan to enact with the geese population; but, until the Ocean Pines Board of Directors state they will no longer support wildlife euthanasia, protests and attempts to reduce ignorance, indifference, and fear-mongering will prevail.

We pray that Ocean Pines and its leadership will respect wildlife, which is part and parcel of the Shore, “the land of pleasant living” (without wildlife kills). To do otherwise, will be the death knell for all living things that we love as residents of a coastal community.

Mary Deborah Wilson

Ocean Pines

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