An investigation is underway into the darting of some Canada Geese on the South Plains. Investigators say it's a criminal act, and could carry thousands of dollars in fines plus jail time.
Several injured geese have recently been spotted in South Lubbock at Leftwitch Park. Reports came in about two weeks ago of some Canada Geese with darts in their head or neck at Leftwitch Park. But just two days ago, some park goers tell us they saw one those of darted geese.
They're typically seen paddling through our playa lakes, but the grace of some Canada Geese at Leftwitch Park has been disturbed.
"The report that came to us was there was six Canadian Geese shot with what they believe were blow darts and had darts sticking in them," says Lindi Butler, Operations Manager of South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Butler says she's only seen two with darts in their neck or head and despite the seemingly painful darts, these geese still soar the skies.
"We tried catching them that one time. They're healthy enough they wouldn't let us get a hold of them," says Quentin Terrel, Game Warden, Texas Parks and Wildlife.
It's hard to tell where the geese where actually harmed, whether it be at this park or in the fields they flew in from. No matter the location, authorities say it's a punishable offense. Terrel says it's a Class C misdemeanor with up to $500 fine.
"These birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. That's one of the reasons there is an investigation, but just cruelty to animals in general," says Butler.
A special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service tells NewsChannel 11 it's a federal offense to harm these birds under the Migratory Bird Act, and carries a fine of up to $15,000 and up to 6 months in prison.
Butler says it's also about the health of these mystic birds decorating our playa lakes.
"If he's got an opened wound where those blow darts are, you're looking at infections things like that, that can happen to him. Which is more of a slow and painful death," adds Butler.
At this point, Game Warden Terrel tells us the case is at a standstill until new information comes forth.
If you know anything about this case you're asked to call Texas Parks and Wildlife at 761-4937.
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