By Arron Hustead
Missourian Sports Writer
The Missouri Department of Conservation and Washington police are investigating what could be the intentional killing of multiple waterfowl in and around Lions Lake last week.
Police discovered the animals, six Canada geese and one duck, in multiple locations in and near the lake at approximately 4 a.m. Thursday, July 2.
The animals all appeared to have been struck by a vehicle, officials said.
“It looks intentional when you start finding ducks and geese at various points around the lake and by the cattle barn,” WPD Sgt. Steve Sitzes said.
The person or persons responsible could face charges.
“It could be animal cruelty or it could be a wildlife violation,” MDC Cpl. Ben Pursey said. “. . . It would be up to a prosecutor to decide.”
Animal abuse is considered a Class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 under Missouri statute.
The Canada goose, a migratory species, can be hunted legally in Missouri with the proper permits during the designated seasons.
Pursey said a charge for slaying the game animals illegally could carry with it a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year of jail time.
Along with the migratory wild geese that populate the lake seasonally, several species of domestic ducks and geese live there year round.
The deceased duck was one of those domestic breeds.
“It was like what people would buy around Easter and then get tired of it and release it at the lake,” Sitzes said.
Individuals with any information on this case are encouraged to contact either the Washington Police Department (636-390-1050), Pursey (636-744-2974) or MDC’s anonymous Operation Game Thief tip line (1-800-392-1111).