During my 13 1/2 years as an emergency services dispatcher, I became the “go-to” person when it came to evaluating and transporting injured and orphaned wildlife in my area. I feel honored to be the person that law enforcement in my area calls when there are injured or orphaned wildlife.
Last night I received a phone call from one of my friends and former co-woker about an injured goose that a young family found in Pardeeville. The goose was lethargic and had a wound in their chest. The people that found the goose contacted their local sheriff’s department and a deputy responded to the location. My former co-woker called me and asked what they should do. She then connected me with the deputy. He flat out told me that it “wasn’t his job” to deal with injured animals and he wanted to wash his hands of the whole situation. Dismayed, I asked to speak to the person who found the goose. The man told me that he would be able to take the goose home overnight and provide food and shelter for him/her until I could pick them up in the morning. I told him that it was the molting season for Canada Geese so they would not be able to fly and just to provide a warm and safe area for the bird. He said that he would keep the goose on his porch.
Today, I drove to Pardeeville to pick up the goose and transport him/her to Four Lakes Wildlife Center. When I arrived the man that I spoke to the night before told me that he gave the goose water and some bread and he/she was much more lively this morning. This was encouraging. I then picked up the goose after a short pursuit :). When I looked at the wound my worst fears were realized. It was not a bite from a predator, and it appeared to have been caused by a small caliber bullet, possibly a .22 caliber. The goose made a wheezing sound when breathing, but otherwise appeared to be in decent shape considering that some thug had shot him/her. I thanked the family and drove the goose to Four Lakes in Madison. The person at Four Lakes who took the goose in agreed with me that it appeared to be a bullet wound.
The fact that this poor defenseless goose was shot when unable to fly and long outside of the killing season absolutely disgusted me. Considering that the shooter used a small caliber bullet shows me that this shooting was likely nothing more than “target practice” for some sick person. What is inspiring is that this young family saw this injured goose and immediately had to take action to help him/her. They opened up a part of their home overnight for this poor injured animal and gently provided nurturing care. We had a laugh about their surprise at how much poop a goose produces. The little guy provided more of that on the way to Madison too.
With all of the cold and heartless people that wildlife life advocates have to deal with, read about, and hear of every day it is always a good feeling to be able to save a victim of a sadistic act. This year I have rescued and transported the goose, three baby squirrels that were in a tree that was cut down, and eight baby bunnies whose mother was killed, likely by a loose cat. This has actually been a light year because of the lack of severe weather. When we experienced severe weather in the past I would get at least a couple of orphan or injured bird calls a week. There are actually some benefits to the recent dry spell that we have been experiencing. Today I have some renewed faith in humanity. I am going to cherish that until the next bad news about wildlife reaches my ears or eyes.