Goose gets hit in head by blow dart

April 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
There was a bizarre case of animal cruelty in Solano County. Someone has been aiming blow darts at geese in Vacaville and the latest casualty was brought in over the weekend.

This Graylag Goose is on a steady dose of aspirin and antibiotics. She was brought to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia over the weekend, with a blow dart through her head.

Workers were able to pull it out, but before they did, photos show that the dart went all the way from one side to the other.

"She is a little bit unstable. She is a little bit wobbly on her feet," said Shannon Riggs, a veterinarian.

Two months ago, another goose was brought in for the same reason. She too, was put on medication, but workers at the bird center expect both geese to be just fine when their treatment is over. It's amazing, they say, considering what they went through.

"The darts actually went through the birds' skulls and it's a miracle that it didn't hit anything important or it didn't appear to," said Michelle Bellizzim, a rehabilitation manager.

The injured animals were spotted at Lagoon Valley. This Vacaville park has become a dumping ground for unwanted domestic ducks and geese. Animal rights groups say that is cruel, but aiming darts at them, is something they just can't fathom.

The Humane Society of the U.S. is now offering a $2,500 reward for the capture of the person responsible. The group wants to send a clear message that animal cruelty is a felony.

"It's really an unseemly side of humanity. It's the ugly side of humanity. If someone is going to do this to a goose, what are they going to do to a cat or a dog or a person," said Bellizzim.

Workers at the bird center are finding some comfort knowing that the geese now have a home to go to. They're heading to a farm in Vacaville where they're expected to get the care they need.

International Bird Rescue Research Center: www.ibrrc.org
Humane Society of the US: www.hsus.org


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