Smyth County

Hundreds of geese to be rounded up in Saltville

Hundreds of geese to be rounded up in Saltville

SALTVILLE, Va. - Geese and ducks are getting out of control in one local town.

Officials said the exploding population is a growing problem to residents and visitors, and soon they'll soon be rounded up and shipped out.

A flock of geese and ducks lingering around Saltville can be a lovely picture of wildlife. "They're beautiful when they're flying and when they're on the ground," said Mike Taylor, the town manager of Saltville.

But it's their numbers that are causing concern in the town.    

Taylor told us there are at least 500 Canadian geese and ducks roaming the small town and making their mark. "They leave their 'love' all over the place," Taylor laughed, "and [they] can be messy."

We found out they can also be in the way to the entrance of town. "As you're going through that area, they'll get in the road and you just literally can't get through," said Taylor.

We found out geese love the links, and they've created years of annoyance at the Saltville Golf Club. "I don't know what they're eating, but they dig holes in our greens that are at least two or three inches. It's pretty insane," said Jill Woodward with the Saltville Golf Club.

Just as expected, we found a flock waddling along the fairway Monday morning, creating another obstacle for Mike Barrett's golf game. "When the greens [are] torn up you have a terrible time putting and stuff, and they really do it," Barrett told News 5.

After years of problems, town officials are saying 'enough is enough'.

They've asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to round up these bothersome birds and get them out of town on Wednesday, because other methods simply haven't worked. "We've had dogs run them; we've had folks with blanks in shotguns shooting, just many different ways to try to get them to leave the area. They came back in a day or two," said Taylor.

We found out not everyone is board with the roundup. Marlene Michalski and her two-year-old granddaughter, Taylor, visit the birds twice a week. "She loves them. She loves to see them and feed them," said Michalski.

The pair doesn't want their feathered friends leave for good. "We'd rather not see it happen," Michalski added.

Once the U.S. Department of Agriculture takes the geese they will be donated to nonprofit organizations, zoos or wildlife rehabilitation facilities for animal consumption.

We're told the removal could cost the town up to $4,000, and it's a process the town does about every three years.

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