Forget about the Green Mountain Falls election and all the talk about community strife.
GMF residents are now completely united in grieving over the fatal loss of the town’s mascot, ambassador and commanding general of waterfowl behavior in the Gazebo lake area. In addition, many locals want action in toughening up its leash laws at the park and want justice served in this particular case
“General Roy,” a popular Chinese domestic duck who couldn’t fly, died on Friday afternoon, following an attack by two loose dogs. The canines broke the duck’s wing and shattered parts of its body. As a result, Roy couldn’t survive the attack and drowned in the lake, according to several reports. Many believe that Roy suffered from intense shock, following the canine assault. Prior to the assault, the duck was hanging out in the east wall area of the Gazebo, enjoying a rare sunny day in early April. He then was attacked from behind.
Several people, including a cook at a local restaurant, tried to save Roy by pulling the canines away from the duck.
The incident is currently under investigation by the Green Mountain Falls Police Department. Law enforcement authorities say they know who the canines, identified as two Labs, belong to. They plan to investigate details of the attack and how the canines got loose. If the dogs were running without a leash, the owners could face charges of animal cruelty, according to local reports.
“We are just heartbroken,” said Ann Pinell, known as the “GMF Geese Lady,” who informally cared for Roy and a few other domestic ducks. “It is a huge loss for the community. Roy represented the heart and spirit of what Green Mountain Falls really is. This is a special place, and Roy was a really special mascot for the town.”
According to Pinell, Roy often served as a key focal figure for tourists and residents, when they came into town. In more recent months, Roy emerged as a symbolic character in the town’s battle over whether it should continue the familiar tourist practice of allowing people to feed the waterfowl at the lake. Late last year, town leaders decided to only permit children to feed ducks and geese at the Gazebo park on an occasional basis. But this issue was never quite resolved to the satisfaction of most citizens. Moreover, the recent death of Roy may further escalate the controversy, often dubbed as “Goose-gate.”
“We have lost our mascot,” stated many residents, when learning of the incident. The death of Roy has also had a profound impact on waterfowl activity at the lake, with this scenic spot devoid of any geese or ducks in the last few days. “This was very traumatic to the ecology system at the lake,” said Pinell. She noted that Roy played a major role in keeping order among the armies of geese and ducks that roamed around town. “He was in charge and often called the corporal or general. He didn’t allow any fighting (among the geese),” related Pinell.
A ceremony may be held shortly in honor of Roy. He will be buried next to Rudy, another domestic duck that was killed in the last couple of years. Rudy was the victim of a clash with a motorist. In addition, a celebration of Roy’s life may occur at the Gazebo. Roy manned the Gazebo lake park in GMF for about eight years, according to Pinell.
The burial ceremony is being coordinated by Pinell and newly-elected GMF Trustee David Pearlman.
Meanwhile, some residents want sterner action to assure incidents like this don’t occur again. “This is not a dog park,” blasted resident Diane Loyd. Like Pinell, she expressed much outrage and sorrow over the incident and conceded that residents are reeling in shock. “Many people are upset,” said Loyd.
At the very least, Loyd and Pinell want to see more visible signs explaining the rules at the lake and warning people that dogs must remain on a leash. “Penalties need to be increased,” added Loyd. Pinell, who also serves on the GMF Parks Committee, believes that some visitors have the false perception that they can let their pets run free at the Gazebo area.
Some locals are also upset with the owners of the canines that perpetrated the attack. According to preliminary reports, it took the delinquent canine owners two hours to retrieve their animals, following the attack.
The specific citations the local dog owners may face isn’t known yet. Undoubtedly, the issue may gain much discussion during the next GMF Board of Trustees meeting, scheduled for April 19. The death of Roy may also mute the celebratory tone of the post-election talk in the wake of the April 5 municipal vote.