Like most animals, geese defecate and humans don’t like to step in it. 

Madison City Parks pays the USDA to round up geese and their goslings and kill them for the simple reason that a few people complain about their poop.

They catch them very early in the morning, when most of us are still asleep. They catch them when the adults are molting and cannot fly.  

Alliance for Animals met with Eric Knepp, head of Madison Parks, several times last year to discuss alternatives to gassing the geese. One option is a Tow and Collect machine which cleans 3 acres per hour. A top of the line machine costs about $8,000. (pause) Alliance for Animals offered to pay for that. The City didn’t want to try it.

Despite the fact that we offered to help every step of the way, the geese were rounded up in Vilas Park, Olin-Turville Park, along Wingra Creek and then killed. Having the geese killed costs the Parks Department about $4,700, every year. 

This year,  Parks said they can’t guarantee that they won’t kill geese, but the numbers are down from last year so there is a chance they won’t kill any or as many.  

The Parks Department sometimes says it kills  geese because of E. coli. But research is clear: E. coli in lake waters is much more likely to come from children still in diapers who play in the water and from agricultural run-off.

The Parks Department sometimes says it kills  geese because of problems with birds on the airport runway, but the FAA reports that Canada geese are involved in only one-and-a-half % of all reported bird strikes in Wisconsin. 

If you live in Madison, and you would prefer that the city doesn’t choose the lethal method to control goose poop, please let your Madison City Council representative and/or Mayor Satya know that you are aware that the city parks department kills geese, and would like them to use non-lethal alternatives. Don’t know your Rep? Click here.

Bottom line, however: Eric Knepp is the ultimate decision maker.

Eric Knepp: City of Madison Parks Division
City-County Building, Room 104
210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703