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OREM — Residents living near the Golden Pond Duck Sanctuary say they're finding more ducks and geese that appear to have been shot with a pellet gun.
The neighbors first noticed dead ducks and geese — 10 in all — at the pond about a week and a half ago. This past weekend, they found more injured birds.
“We come out to feed them and they’re falling down trying to get to the food, so we know something’s wrong,” said Catherine Whittaker, who has been taking care of the pond for the past eight years.
One of the latest victims is a large white goose. When neighbors spotted a red mark on its beak, they captured it to take it to a veterinarian.
The goose’s mate is also at the vet. X-rays showed it had been shot six times by a pellet gun.
“Because it was a pellet gun, a big goose could take a lot of hits and you wouldn’t know it,” said Brian Layton, who lives near the pond.
Conservation officer Sean Spencer, with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, was at the pond Sunday and saw another victim, also a goose.
“You could see blood on the back feathers that looked pretty recent,” Spencer said.
He said some of the shot or injured waterfowl are protected wildlife, and shooting domestic fowl violates state codes.
The latest discoveries have neighbors taking extra security measures, with some taking turns walking around the pond to look for anything suspicious.
“It’s impressive that (the shooters have) been able to get away with it in this tight little spot,” Layton said. “Obviously, they’re being very careful.”
The Humane Society of Utah is offering a $2,000 reward in the case, and neighbors hope the shooter is caught so they regain their sense of peace and calm.
“This has been a safe haven not only for the rescue ducks, but it’s given some of us a place to come,” Whitaker said.
Neighbors are now raising money to help pay for the veterinarian bills, and to increase security at the pond. People wishing to help can donate on their GoFundMe page.*
Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to contact the Division of Wildlife Resources.
*KSL.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does KSL.com assure that the monies deposited will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit or donation you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.