Florida homeowners association face fine after drugged geese drown

MIRAMAR, Fla. — A gaggle of geese met a tragic end after a South Florida homeowners association attempted to trap, sedate and euthanize them, authorities said.

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Ten of the geese drowned in a lake, and 15 others had to be euthanized, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Now, the homeowners association that ordered the removal of the birds could be facing a fine for a code violation.

The SilverLakes Community Association in Miramar had contracted a company to remove the birds because some residents were complaining about the noise the geese were making, in addition to leaving droppings around the community, the newspaper reported.

Rolando Calzadilla, the owner of an animal control service in Miami Lakes called Pest Wildlife Pro, said he went to the community lake on Tuesday to remove the birds and fed them a sedative hidden in bread, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The plan went awry when a loud passing car spooked the birds, causing them to fly away, the newspaper reported. Ten of them fell into the lake and drowned.

“It was for them to remain on land, fall asleep, pick them up and take them away and then humanely euthanize them,” Calzadilla told WPLG-TV.

Calzadilla said residents who saw what happened charged at him and began yelling at him, The Associated Press reported. Calzadilla said he had to call authorities for help.

“Everyone hates the dog catcher in the neighborhood,” Calzadilla told the Sun-Sentinel. “It was just a bad situation.”

Wildlife expert Ron Magill characterized the images of the dead birds as cruelty to animals.

“From what I saw, at least from one of the animals it looked like a type of poison,” Magill told WPLG. “That was given to the animal dying a slow horrible miserable death.

“Any animal that is a nuisance or non-native can legally be humanely removed from the area,” he said. “The key word is humanely. I look at this video and this does not look humanely at all.”

Calzadilla told the newspaper that the homeowners association hired him in October to remove the geese.

The president of the association could not be reached for comment Thursday by email, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The board’s treasurer declined to comment. A board secretary referred questions to the association’s attorney, John Stevens, who could not be immediately reached for comment, the newspaper reported.

The homeowners association sent a notice to residents Wednesday saying the geese population had been “rapidly increasing” and had become aggressive, according to the AP. The letter characterized the drownings as an “unfortunate matter.”

Tania Ruse, a spokesperson for the Miramar Police Department, said the city was a bird sanctuary, adding that birds cannot be euthanized within the city limits.

Ruse added that the department’s code enforcement division sent a municipal code violation to the property manager’s office by certified mail on Thursday.

According to the city code, “It shall be unlawful to hunt, wound, molest, injure, or kill any bird in the lands embracing the city.”