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Investigation under way after driver hits, kills 20 geese in South Bend

Photo courtesy: Corey Brazo

An image on social media is causing a lot of anger. It shows geese run over.

There's an investigation into this, led by South Bend Animal Care and Control.

They declined an interview request, but confirm that 20 geese did die, including some goslings.

The image first appeared on the River Park Neighbors Facebook page. When Jessica Wright, a volunteer with Heartland Animal Rescue, saw the image, she says she was in shock.

"Why would somebody be so cruel?” she said. “Because I can see it being an accident if maybe somebody hit one or two, but to hit 20 geese spread that far down the road…"

Whether you love them, hate them, or don't really care much about them, the geese are everywhere.

"We have a lot more geese then we ever did in this community, because a lot of them are non-migratory,” said Gary Harrington, Rum Village Nature Center director. “In the old days they would all fly and you would never see any in the middle of winter like you do now, but there are a lot now that are resident geese here year-round."

An officer was sent to the area near Northside Blvd. in South Bend just after 10:30 Thursday night.

This morning the road is clear, but geese still wander into the street, barely missing cars driving by.

"If I see geese in the middle of the road, yes I stop and I'm careful to make sure they go across the road before I proceed,” said Harrington. “And that's what I advise to people."

Harrington say geese are a protected bird species according to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, making it illegal to harm geese.

Only people with a special license from the state of Indiana can shoot geese during hunting season.

"Whether somebody wasn't looking at the road, or they can't see at night when they're driving, or there is just malicious intent – either way that kind of carnage to me is not an accident."

Police say there are no witnesses or suspects at this time. If you know anything, you are asked to contact South Bend Animal Care and Control.

You can be prosecuted for harming geese. It's considered a misdemeanor and can carry a fine of up to $15,000 or 6 months in prison.

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