NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR - The City of North Little Rock is considering 20 proposals submitted as alternatives to a goose hunt in Burns Park to help reduce the goose population.
Ideas had to be turned in by noon Thursday to the Mayor's office with detailed specifics on alternative ways of dealing with the goose population. At a public meeting Thursday night, some of the ideas were discussed. The goal is to prevent the city from rescheduling the goose hunt by coming up with a cost effective, more humane way of reducing the population.
Most everyone at the North Little Rock public meeting agrees the over population of geese in Burns Park is a serious health and safety issue, but not everyone agrees with how to solve the problem. Some people suggest using chemical deterrents while others want higher fines for feeding the geese. One of the more popular solutions many people agree on is using a dog to chase the geese away.
Denise Holmes and her dog, Henry, are already being used as a goose deterrent at several golf courses. Holmes says she’s willing to negotiate a fair price with the city. "I think the long term solution is for the city to get its own dog and pair it with a park ranger and make random runs daily."
Scott White with the Coalition to Save the Geese of Burns Park agrees a dog to chase the geese away is a non-violent solution that is working in other areas. "Dogs are in action on this problem all across the country and one is in action on the Little Rock side of the river."
North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays says the ideas submitted for review all seem to have merit. Now, it's just a matter of finding the best, most cost effective option. "We're going to try our best to see if there's another approach. We're committed to reducing the goose population, we're committed to addressing the health and safety of the patrons of the park, and we're going to try to do it in the best way possible."
It is possible the city will not go for any of the submitted ideas. In that case, the goose hunt will be rescheduled sometime before January 29th, which is the end of the goose-hunting season.
Hunters chosen to participate in the hunt are still required to attend one of the two goose hunt orientation training sessions. The first one was held Tuesday night. The second course happened Thursday, December 15th at 6:30pm at the North Little Rock Community Center.
The North Little Rock City Council voted 5-1 on November 28th to waive a city ordinance forbidding the discharge of firearms in the city limits to allow the hunt. That's when phone calls from opponents started pouring into the city. The council voted Monday to delay the controlled kill of about 135 of the estimated 200 Canada Geese after public outcry.