by: Alyana Gomez Updated:
YULEE, Fla. - The Nassau County Courthouse steps are free of geese and their droppings; both have been a longtime nuisance. It wasn't until recently we learned that when the birds began attacking people, the county decided to use force to get rid of them.
“When people would come out they'd see the geese on their cars, they would try to take food from them, they'd get on top of their car, scratch the paint and other things,” said James Harrington, a trapper and owner of Wild Things.
A Nassau County judge obtained a federal Fish and Wildlife permit to kill the geese and hired Harrington.
“The geese would come out here and feed on the grasses out here. What I did was I concealed myself behind this small clump of gravel and shot in this area towards the woods, completely away from all the buildings,” said Harrington.
According to the permit, Harrington was required to try harassing the geese before taking lethal action. Harrington said that didn't work.
“If I had my car or property out there and animals were destroying it, then shoot the animals,” said resident George Lange.
That's exactly what this trapper did. He shot 14 of the 20 Canadanian geese he was ordered to kill, but the kickback came from the community.
“I think they should have been taken away and put in a safe place,” said resident Stan Knowles.
“Go about doing it the right way. Don't just slaughter them for no reason,” said resident Tammy Amburgey.
Action News asked Harrington if there could have been a better way. He said, “We had done everything we could to harass the geese into leaving. The final ones just did not want to leave.”
The trapper said that after hearing how upset the community was, the judge told him not to kill the six surviving geese. Action News tried to contact the judge but our calls have not been returned.
Action News has learned that the county is looking at long-term solutions that don't involve shooting geese.