Protesters Rally To Save Waterfowl

Posted at 10:43 PM, Dec 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-05 23:43:28-05

The mile loop around Luther Lake in Dickson has been the perfect place for walkers, but this year, tennis shoes have been outnumbered by feet of a different kind.

Dozens of geese and ducks have called Luther Lake and the surrounding properties home. However, in the fall, some residents complained about what the birds leave behind. City leaders voted to bring the USDA in to take care of it.

"I don't think they understood that because they're Canadian geese, the city can't do anything about them. They're protected federally so the USDA had to get involved and the USDA's solution is to round them up and exterminate them," advocate Cindy Sanders said. 

Thus started a grassroots effort to save the birds.

"Dickson has the control and the ability to cancel the contract with the USDA and implement something humane," protest organizer, Amanda Holloway said. 

Advocates from as far away as Memphis joined the campaign to send a message to city leaders, there's a better way.

"Any time you can come up with a humane solution to what residents perceive as a problem, it's better than just immediately jumping to extermination," Sanders said. 

Dressed for the part in a duck costume, Amanda Holloway explained some alternatives.

"They have this thing called the goosebuster. It is basically a PA system that plays geese alert calls and that in conjunction with some city coordinated pyrotechnics can make the geese feel like there's something really, seriously bad going on and they'll leave," she said.  

Carrying flyers and information, volunteers went door to door in an attempt to rally residents to reconsider.

"It was the citizens that seem to mind having poop, and I wore my old shoes expecting to see poop and I'm not seeing it. It seems very pristine and beautiful. I'm not seeing what the problem is," said Sanders. 

Organizers have planned to go back to Dickson City Council in January or February to present a list of alternatives, rather than euthanizing the birds. 

The city has relocated the geese in the past, however this year they said there's not enough money to do it.