Foster City’s plan to kill geese over excessive poop sees major backlash from animal-rights advocates

FOSTER CITY, Calif. (KGO) — The debate over what to do with an over-population of geese in Foster City is about to get very loud.

Tuesday night, animal-rights advocates will rally outside City Hall to protest a plan to kill the birds.

The number of geese in the city has gone from 180 in 2020, to 323 geese last year.

Residents near the lagoon and beach areas say the poop is everywhere.

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“We cannot walk here and we cannot sit on grass. They are always fighting with each other and this road is always dirty,” said park visitor Rupinder Kaur.

It’s not just a cleanliness problem.

Foster City says it has found poop bacteria polluting waterways.

The city is waiting for approval of a federal permit to kill the geese, and then look for other ways to control the population.

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Foster City released this full statement to ABC7 News when asked about this issue:

“The Canada Goose is a migratory bird, but due to the favorable conditions offered locally, has taken permanent residence in and around Foster City. The reluctance to migrate has yielded an unsustainable rate of population growth, with the number of birds in Foster City doubling from 181 in 2020 to 323 in 2021, with indications that figure will tick higher in 2022.

This excessive concentration poses potential health risks to both Foster City residents and visitors/users of our parks and waterways. Lagoon water quality testing regularly shows high e.coli levels partly attributed to goose droppings among other factors, that have resulted in mandatory beach closures. By way of example, last year, Heal the Bay identified three Foster City beaches among the top 10 most polluted in California.

A variety of nonlethal deterrents such as fogging, birth control, dog hazing, strobe lights, egg addling, fencing and other approaches have been explored and/or attempted to mitigate the health hazard posed by Canada Goose droppings, but the success of those efforts has been limited.

With an obligation to maintain healthy waterways and inviting parks, Foster City is considering the lethal removal of a limited number of geese. The lethal option would complement other ongoing nonlethal measures and be applied selectively as a means of population control, not extermination.

No action or decision on the matter has been made, other than the direction to acquire the necessary permits should the City move forward with lethal removal. All community input is welcomed, and residents are encouraged to stay engaged over the coming weeks and months.”

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