BASS: Stepping in when a brood of brats harasses a gaggle of geese
An animal lover called recently, upset about what started as a simple, single incident, but which has since morphed into a story that goes in many directions.
There are many lessons to be learned from it, so it makes sense to share the tale.
This woman was at Pioneer Park, one of many people enjoying the early-season sunshine, when she saw a group of kids throwing rocks and buckets and other things at a flock of geese.
The gaggle of geese was trying to escape this brood of brats, albeit unsuccessfully, when the woman decided to intervene.
She confronted them, told them their behaviour was inappropriate and ordered them to stop.
Said bunch of brats — and I am not using the term loosely, as you will soon see — ran off in the direction of some adults who had been watching all of this unfold.
The next thing the woman knows, one of the adults, a hulking male, confronts her, threatens her and yells at her that his kids can do whatever they want in the park.
Here is where the lessons begin.
First, what is wrong with a parent who sees nothing wrong with animal abuse?
Next, not one other adult watching this scene stepped up to help the woman. Eventually, another younger woman came over and shared her ground in the face of the angry dad.
A few days later, the woman, this time out with her young son biking along the trail in Riverside Park, again came across a group of young teens throwing things at the geese there.
Unfazed by her earlier experience, she again stopped and intervened, telling these punks to stop.
This crew didn’t need big bad daddy to step up for them. They lipped off at her themselves, telling her what she could do and where she could go.
Now determined to deal with this, the woman called the city’s bylaws department.
Makes sense; they can roust homeless people out of Riverside Park, so they must be able to do something to remove animal abusers.
Not their job, she was told as they redirected her to provincial conservation officers.
The call went to the Victoria office, where she was told it wasn’t their problem. She was told to call the Canadian Wildlife Association.
She called, this time reaching a sympathetic ear in the association’s Vancouver office who said there wasn’t much they could do about it and told her to keep a log of the incidences and give it to the local RCMP.
I had also suggested calling Kamloops Mounties police but, since I sit next to a police monitor every day and hear the time delays between calls being received and officers being sent to investigate, it’s likely a rescue-geese-from-teens call might not see the cruisers rolling immediately.
I emailed the city’s parks, recreation and cultural services director, Byron McCorkell, to ask if having people sitting in our crown-jewel park watching thugs-in-the-making try to kill geese wasn’t bad for the tourism image.
He was at a city council meeting, but had Jeff Putnam, who oversees the parks, call me back.
Putnam said the geese are an issue and a wrangler had been hired to try to remove them — but, the reality is there will always be geese around.
Putnam did say if he was ever in the park and saw what the woman had seen, he would step up and try to stop it, too.
Which brings us to the final lesson: Lots of us go to waterfront parks. We must see this happening.
Next time it does, don’t leave it to a short, slight woman to take a stand on her own.
Teach these kids the lesson their parents apparently won’t — while they can still be taught.