Lakewood goose eggs mostly OK — Cops investigate abuse report
LAKEWOOD —The eggs belonging to a nesting Canada goose that was reportedly attacked on a daily basis by a van full of children appear to be OK, police said Tuesday.
Police and the state Division of Fish and Wildlife are investigating a woman's report that she saw a van of children being brought to the retention pond on Cedar Bridge Avenue over the course of five days this month. The woman told police that the children harassed and beat the birds.
News of the incident flooded social media with comments wondering whether the birds had been seriously injured — or whether they existed at all.
Police Lt. Gregory Staffordsmith said a Fish and Wildlife officer was able to locate and examine the eggs in the nest.
"All but one appeared to be fine," he said Tuesday. "There was one egg that did exhibit a slight crack. However, that may have been caused by any number of reasons."
The woman who made the initial police report pushed back against online claims that she was perpetrating a hoax.
"I know what I saw. I saw these kids hitting the geese. That's what I saw. And I saw them stomping the area where these geese are," she said Tuesday in an interview with New Jersey 101.5, who agreed not to use her name because she feared backlash in the community. "I've also seen them running with things in their hands, which, from what I could see, was white. Who knows how many eggs [the goose] had to begin with."
The woman said the first attack she noticed took place on May 13. She said she heard noise from the window of her office and "saw a group of boys (maybe 10 of them) screaming and clapping and walking towards a goose who was flapping his wings and honking."
Canada geese, the most common type found in New Jersey, are protected by state and federal law. The geese, along with their nests and eggs, cannot be handled, relocated or otherwise disturbed without a permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Staffordsmith asked anyone with information about the geese to call Sgt. Kenneth Burdge at 732-363-0200 or the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 609-292-2965.
Vin Ebenau contributed to this report.
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