Protests in Foster City against plans to control local goose population

FOSTER CITY – A group of goose advocates gathered in Foster City on Friday night, the group’s latest effort to protest the city’s plan to control the goose population.

“I think the option of murder should definitely be ruled out,” Brent Turner said. “There are so many other options available that are kinder to animals. I mean, I think that’s just nonsense.”

The growing population of Canada Geese in Foster City and their subsequent droppings have created a dilemma for the town. City leaders say excess goose poo has created health risks for the community and that efforts to date, including slowing breeding efforts and attempting to relocate geese, have have proven unsuccessful.

Last month, the city council lit a plan that would allow the city to obtain a goose-killing permit if needed, which would allow them to capture and kill up to 100 geese.

“It’s ineffective and cruel,” attorney Erik Allen said. “Historically what works is habitat modification, which is taking their food away. They like lawns near water. ‘themselves. So if you replace the lawns with grass – just a couple, not all of them.”

Foster City resident Imran Baig called the situation an “ethical dilemma” and said there was no right solution.

“You know, I should be looking out for the best interests of the human population over the goose population,” he said. “I’m so sad to hear these geese will have to suffer, but I want to see what’s best for Foster City.”

Although the problem is happening in Foster City, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said the county should find a way to help the city control the problem without killing the geese.

“I think the county has a role to play in this, it’s not just a Foster City problem. We have geese all over the county,” he said. “There is a problem. The problem is that there is goose poo. But where we differ is on the solution to how we solve this problem.”

He says killing geese shouldn’t be an option on the table.

“We don’t even know if killing those 100 geese will solve the problem. We don’t know,” he said. “There has to be a better way to do it.”

In the meantime, he thinks the city should take a step back and reconsider having that option on the table.

“I think if they just clearly said we’re not going to kill geese, that’s out of line, I think that would alleviate any problems the community might have,” he said. “Apart from COVID, this is the issue my office has received the most calls about.”

The City of Foster City has not identified a vendor who would participate in the goose depredation process, if it pursues this option, nor does it have a timeline for doing so, according to a city spokesperson. Additionally, any potential deal would need to be reviewed at a public meeting of city council.

A Foster City spokesperson provided KPIX 5 with the following statement:

“Foster City has an obligation to protect its community from the potential health risks posed by the overabundant, non-migratory population of Canada geese, while continuing to provide safe and healthy parks and open spaces. That’s why depredation is considered an option to be applied selectively and in conjunction with non-lethal alternatives.To this end, the city has explored a wide range of creative and innovative potential deterrents such as robotic technology, while considering also landscape modifications to make Foster City less attractive to geese.The city will continue to review all available options and is committed to ongoing engagement with community members, advocacy agencies, politicians and all other stakeholders as this issue evolves.”