City overrun by geese plans to kill most of them by pulling their heads off

A city overrun by geese has come up with a cruel way to solve its problem.

The Canadian goose population of Foster City in San Francisco stands at 379 – and has almost doubled year on year in recent times.

This, and a claim that the geese are harming the water quality, has prompted officials to look into ways of solving the issue.

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On Monday (July 18) it voted in favour of killing around a third of them – by pulling their heads off.

The gruesome method of killing will see experts “detach” the goose heads from their spines.

The “spinal dislocation” will be performed by a private company after plans were approved this week.

According to reports, “non-lethal” methods were looked at, but not approved.

A spokesman for the city told the San Francisco Chronicle: “While the city understands the concerns regarding the decision to move forward with depredation, it has been determined that exercising the lethal option selectively and in conjunction with non-lethal alternatives is a necessary step to address the poor water quality issues and quality of life concerns that have faced Foster City for years.”

The city has previously tried to deal with the issue by spending around £20,000 on buying beagle dogs to scare the geese – which didn't work.

Wildlife experts have offered to pay to keep the birds alive, and even came up with a plan to create new green areas in the city, but those were rejected.

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The city's main issue with the geese is that it is stopping new investment being made in the city, as it causes “havoc” for planners.

But this, Susan Russell, wildlife expert for the Animal Protection League is not the fault of the geese.

She said: “By having (this landscape), Foster City may as well be setting out buckets of bird seeds. Geese love fertilised turf grass.

It’s like caviar and you’re looking at birds whose coastal habitat has been turned into condos.”

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