Police On The Hunt For Driver Who Plowed Through A Gaggle Of Geese, Witnesses Say The Killing Was On Purpose

Police are searching for a driver who plowed through a gaggle of white geese in Clinton Township, Michigan. One witness reported that the person who ran over and killed the geese, which have reportedly become fairly domesticated from locals feeding them, was “driving like a maniac” around 5:30 on Thursday evening. Motorists were stopped at a light as the gaggle of geese began to cross the road, but when the light changed and the driver could proceed, the motorist allegedly sped up aggressively in what appeared to be a deliberate and successful attempt to kill the geese.

“We were all stopped there to allow the flock to cross Gratiot when the car in front of me just plowed right through them and kept going,” Lynn Anderson, of Clinton Township, told the Macomb Daily about the collision that killed the geese and reportedly traumatized motorists on the scene.

The geese were part of a larger gaggle that have been living near the Clinton River for years. Almost a dozen have already been relocated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to a safer area, and the DNR promises that more will also be relocated in order to keep the geese safer.

“I would like to find a farm with a pond to take all of them to for a new home,” the animal control officer said of the remaining geese on the Clinton River. “They’ve become domesticated from people dropping food off over there for them.”

Police think that video footage from traffic cameras in the area might be able to help locate the driver, whom witnesses say killed the birds on purpose. Police say that the driver could be charged with reckless driving and animal cruelty. It is unclear if the birds were protected in any way by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act like the birds that a Florida landscaper mowed down with a tractor were. Reports have not been specific about the exact species of geese that were killed. The large gaggle, from photos, appears to be made of mostly the white goose, but also of a couple of other strays of different species. Regardless, Michigan has a strict animal cruelty statute.

The geese were killed near Gratiot and Wellington Crescent Boulevard. Anderson said the driver just “hit the gas and ran into the pack deliberately. And then took off,” according to My Fox Detroit.

“I was right there. I saw the feathers flying. Everyone was horrified.”

Anderson also shared photos of the scene and relayed what she witnessed on Facebook, and that post has been shared over 10,000 times in the last day. Anderson said that four geese were killed right away, and a fifth goose was so badly injured that animal control euthanized it.

People are furious that the driver seemingly placed no value on the creatures. The public outrage has spilled out of news articles and onto several social media platforms.

“I think it shows that people in our county are not going to tolerate animal cruelty,” Randazzo said, who explained that at least two other geese, besides for the five that are now dead, are believed to have been seriously injured by the motorist. Randazzo said that it does appear as though the driver of the vehicle intentionally ran over the birds.

“People are very outraged about this,” Randazzo said, according to the Detroit Free Press. Now, the search is on for the owner of a ’68 black charger who Anderson said was in the center lane when the geese were killed. The driver of the charger reportedly tried to flag down the driver that killed the geese and may be able to positively identify the person.

Michigan considers animal cruelty a “general intent crime” and an automatic felony. The statute even specifies that any reckless act that is committed against an animal while the person knows, or should know, that the act could kill, maim, disfigure or mutilate an animal is also considered animal cruelty. There are exceptions for hunting, fishing, trapping, livestock husbandry, and scientific research. If convicted of animal cruelty, the Michigan motorist who killed the geese could, in theory, serve up to four years for each goose that was killed.

[Photo credit: Lynn Anderson]