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Appeals Excessive Public Records Charges & Violation of Wisconsin Law
Oshkosh - The Wisconsin Animal Educational Network filed an appeal with the State Attorney General today citing violations of the Wisconsin public records act in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Dr. Ann Frisch, President of the organization, said that the City had refused to consider her request for a waiver of the excessive fees for information in the public interest. The two records requests, totaling 62 pages were billed at $15.50. Comparable costs at commercial copiers would be $4.34. Copies of her appeal to the Attorney General are below.
Frisch examined the records of the Parks and Recreation Department on Monday, 20 March, and found that there is no information in the files that would warrant a slaughter of Canada geese at Lakeside Park and other areas of Fond du Lac. In addition, information in the files concerning e coli in water samples presumably given by the USDA Wildlife Services (Animal Damage Control) shamefully and erroneously implicates the geese when there is no evidence to support it. The City Council approved the application for funds and the permit to kill the geese in a resolution at their November 23, 1999 meeting.
The grant, already approved, is a laundering of state tax monies granted to the DNR which will be washed through the City Councils and County Boards and returned to the DNR through its cooperative service agreement with the USDA Wildlife Services (Animal Damage Control). Taxpayers fund the entire effort, half coming from Fond du Lac, the remainder from the state taxpayers.
There is no evidence in the files to show that removal of geese anywhere in the City would reduce the goose poop. In fact, impartial experts agree that the removal would only make space for more geese, sucking up money from taxpayers to fund the USDA Wildlife Services (Animal Damage Control) without any benefit to those who are concerned about goose poop, and further delaying any improvement in the conditions at the park.
Further, the files indicate that there was no study done to determine the facts and what the best practice would be. The USDA, under records recovered for 1998 and 1999, has not even conducted a site visit. The Environmental Impact Statement, currently being prepared by WI USDA Animal Damage Control, has not been issued nor studied by the City Council. There are many strategies for goose control that were disregarded:
None of these non-lethal measures have been used. Further, there is no history of the non-lethal practices that are alleged to have occurred, except some numbers regarding how many eggs and nests were destroyed. The City spent $1,800 last year to relocate 97 juveniles to Vilas County, where they will serve the DNR's interest of hunting promotions. There is no indication in the file that relocation reduced the goose poop in the park.
In short, the application for permit and application for funding constitutes a deceptive practice by the City of Fond du Lac in collusion with the state game agency and the USDA at the expense of taxpayers.
To sanitize the violence, the City is calling it "pantrying" of the geese. However, the proposal to feed the geese to the poor with minimum levels of toxic residues in the goose tissues is an outrageous exploitation of the poor for a public relations gimmick.
If children are hurt on the softball fields, the city will not be able to argue in court that their goose slaughter was a justifiable action.
If the poor - their children or fetuses - are harmed, the City of Fond du Lac will have legal responsibility, according to the agreement signed by the City which agreed to hold the DNR and USDA harmless.
Frisch will ask the City Council to abandon their planned domestic violence and instead try some measures that will actually work.
For more information contact:
Dr. Ann Frisch
Copyright © 2000 Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese