In response to an article entitled, “Swan Control Debate on Greenwood Lake,” which was published in the Sept. 30 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch. The Committee for Humane Geese Control would like to clarify the record.
These are the undisputed facts: A family of swans on the NJ side of the lake was being harassed by jet skiers. The male swan began to chase jet skis to protect his family. Someone complained about the swan to the Greenwood Lake Commission, who called USDA Wildlife Services to “assess” the swans.
If deemed aggressive, the USDA would kill them on the spot. The USDA Wildlife Services is the agency that was paid $22,000 by the Greenwood Lake Commission to round up and kill 206 geese at Thomas Morahan Park in 2018. The paperwork signed by the Greenwood Lake Commission did not limit the “assessment” to one swan. The USDA has the authority to kill the whole family.
Wildlife Services assessed the swan. He was not deemed aggressive that day. USDA Wildlife Services and the Greenwood Lake Commission have reserved the right to come back any time to reassess the swan(s) if anyone complains again; and we believe the paperwork signed gives them the continual right to do so. Our swans may still be in danger next year unless action is taken to protect them.
The Dispatch article states the following: “Before the end of the Greenwood Lake Commission meeting on Wed., Sept. 23, former co-chair Paul Zarrillo read a statement in regard to multiple threats the Commission has received relating to their handling of a swan situation on the lake. Zarrillo called the threats ‘ridiculous’ and blamed the Committee for Humane Geese Control (CHGC) for the hysteria surrounding the situation regarding the swans, which led to an environment that brought the threats.”
In fact, the Committee for Humane Geese Control played a minimal role in this debate. We put the facts out there. The community, which loves the swans, reached out to the Greenwood Lake Commission, and Congressman Gottheimer in the form of hundreds of emails and phone calls. The goal was to get the Commission to reverse the call to the USDA; as jet ski season is almost over and the cygnets will soon be old enough to fly away.
The Committee for Humane Geese Control did nothing to encourage perceived threats to the Commission. Nor are we responsible for them, if they did happen. The mission of the Committee for Humane Geese Control is, and will continue to be, controlling the population of geese on Greenwood Lake in a humane way; and peaceful coexistence with the wildlife that we all love. We thank the community for all the support.
MICHELE SHENKER & JOYCE DANNHEIM
THE COMMITTEE FOR HUMANE GEESE CONTROL