Sanford, N.C. — A federal agency euthanized about 50 geese last Monday to deal with an overpopulation problem in a gated community.
An original population of 30 geese at Carolina Trace has tripled in the past three years, and the birds were becoming a nuisance, employees said.
"We had several golfers reporting getting attacked and getting run off by geese as they were going for their balls," Tim Hart, supervisor of the Carolina Trace golf course, said.
A school bus stop, the golf course and other areas of Carolina Trace were "just littered with feces," Hart said. One adult goose produces between 8 ounces and a pound of feces each day.
Hart said the community had tried several methods to scare the geese away.
"We've used bottle rockets. We used fencing, just trying to harrass them by golf carts or Gators," Hart said. "(We're) not trying to hurt them, just trying to keep them moving all the time."
Employees even tried annoying the geese with one worker's dog, but the geese took shelter in the community's 320-acre lake.
"Once geese get in the water, dogs aren't really effective," Hart said.
Hart contacted federal officials about the problem. Agents told him the only way to deal with it was to kill the geese.
A week ago, wildlife workers trapped and used gas to kill about 50 of the birds.
"Nobody wants to hurt animals; that's not anybody's intentions," Hart said. "But unfortunately, this is how it had to be handled."
A representative of North Carolina's USDA division would not talk about the decision, but said that the geese were euthanized following veterinary standards.
Hart said he has received two complaints.
"In general, most people are – I shouldn't say glad, but they are glad to see the problem go away," Hart said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that North Carolina has an overpopulation problem with geese. Ten years ago, the goose population was three times larger than its optimal size.
North Carolina State University has joined the Federal Aviation Administration to study why the state' s goose population is growing, particularly around dangerous places such as airports.
On Sunday, Interstate 485 in Charlotte was shut down after a driver slowed for Canada geese crossing the highway, triggering a four-vehicle wreck.