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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

In-city goose shooting ordinance doesn't fly

Celina council members reject proposed legislation

By William Kincaid
CELINA - City council members killed an ordinance on Monday night that would have allowed citizens to shoot nuisance animals in Celina if permission was secured from state or federal authorities and city officials.
After a lengthy discussion, including counsel from city law director George Moore, council members unanimously voted against the proposed legislation on its final reading.
Instead, they're now encouraging business owners and residents to contract with professional, certified wildlife control services to mitigate geese problems.
Councilman Jeff Larmore said using companies like The Wildlife Control Co. Inc. of Dublin may be the answer.
Moore also pointed out that Ryan Garrison, state wildlife officer for Mercer County, suggested the city consider using professional wildlife control agencies instead of permitting residents to use firearms on nuisance animals.
"And so I think from a safety and liability standpoint, I would recommend that council should move to postpone that indefinitely, which would in effect, no pun intended, kill the ordinance," Moore said.
Council members voted down the ordinance to clear it from the agenda.
City administrators prefer the use of wildlife control companies, Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel said.
"The city did not bring this up because we wish to get rid of any geese on our park property; they are a nuisance, especially on our boardwalk, but it isn't city generated - this was resident or business owner generated," Hazel said of the legislation.
Some of the geese problems are occurring at Fox's Den Golf Course and Romer's Catering.
"With the issue of public safety, personally I would feel more comfortable with a true professional that doesn't have any bias regarding the animal and the need to remove it in a proper way would be done again in the safest possible manner," councilman Fred LeJeune said.
Dirk Shearer, president of The Wildlife Control Co. Inc., told council members his business assists people in developing long-term plans to reduce the presence of nuisance animals.
The goal should be to balance - not completely eliminate - geese populations, he said.
Many times, Shearer said, relying on guns to kills a few geese is inefficient and impractical.
Canada geese can live 20 years and a pair can multiple to as many as 100 in five to seven years, he said. His agency strives to control populations by affecting the birth rate, immigration and emigration patterns and mortality rates - ultimately to get most of the geese to leave an area.
His company employs lethal and non-lethal techniques.
Typically in February, when the ice melts and geese become active and build nests, Shearer said his business will begin a discouragement program, using dogs, remote control boats, cars and planes and other techniques, such as loud noises.
His company also can seek federal permits to render geese eggs unviable and apply for lethal permits to conduct goose roundups, where as many as 400 geese can be taken out in two hours and as few as 20 to 50 geese removed in 15 minutes.
The geese are euthanized according to state regulations, while sometimes goslings can be relocated, Shearer told the newspaper.
Some areas may never be free of geese but the pressure can be reduced over the years with persistent application of techniques that reduce the conflict to an acceptable level, Shearer said.
City regulations prohibit the discharge of firearms inside the corporation limits unless it's done in self-defense or during official duty.
Celina residents issued permits by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services are still prohibited from shooting the nuisance animals because of the city's firearms law.
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