By Madina Toure
Whitestone’s got an unusual problem. One of its houses has been hosting dead geese in its backyard since last Friday.
A Whitestone resident, who has been living in the area for 25 years, went into her backyard that morning and saw roughly 16 to 20 dead geese hanging on a clothesline in the backyard of a house on 150th Street and 15th Drive.
She said the yard behind the house tends to be a mess, with garbage cans that the owners collect as well as an irrigation system. She said she did not want to get the owners in trouble but was worried about the possible threat of disease in the neighborhood.
“These dead animals, are they going to bring rodents around the area or animals?” she said. “Do they harbor diseases? Do I have to worry about meningitis or encephalitis from the mosquitoes? I just want to make sure it’s safe.”
When her sister, Theresa Durchhalter, 50, a Long Island resident, arrived to have breakfast with her, she told her what happened and she was equally shocked.
“I walked in her backyard and she was out there with her mouth gaping open and I said, ‘Oh my god! What is that?’ and she said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on there because there are 16 to 20 geese!,’” Durchhalter said. “Even if it’s food for food consumption, who is feeding 16 to 20 geese for their family?”
But according to another resident in the area, who has been living there for 50 years, this isn’t the first time the owners have hung up animals since they moved to the neighborhood in April 2011.
“I did see it last winter, but not as much,” she said. “Now it’s just clothesline-full.”
The occupants of the house could not be reached to explain the mysterious bird appearance.
Durchhalter reached out to the office of Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and the Department of Health and formally submitted a complaint on behalf of her sister.
The Health Department dispatched an inspector to the house Monday. But by Sunday night, the geese were no longer hanging on the clothesline, perhaps due to the rainy weather, Durchhalter said.
“When they went, the constituent said she saw a health inspector show up,” said Vito Tautonico, the director of constituent services for Vallone’s office. “When they got there, there was nothing to be seen because they were put in the shed or some kind of garage.”
But by Tuesday, the geese were hanging on the clothesline again and on Wednesday, they were up for part of the day and then taken down again. The Health Department said it planned to conduct an investigation and Tautonic said an inspector was expected to return to the house this week.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.