MEDIA RELEASE: Peapack NJ Residents Watch their Flock by Night As Goose Killers Arrive

MEDIA RELEASE: Peapack NJ Residents Watch their Flock by Night As Goose Killers Arrive

PEAPACK-GLADSTONE, N.J. (June 13, 2024) – In a courageous act of compassion and solidarity, local community members in Peapack, New Jersey, have started conducting overnight vigils in Liberty Park to protest the planned execution of a beloved flock of geese by contract killers from USDA Wildlife Services. Supported by the Animal Protection League of New Jersey and In Defense of Animals, both members of the National Goose Protection Coalition, these brave individuals are maintaining a vigilant watch over the geese, while hired guns lay in wait.

”With a USDA van spotted at the park past week, we've been patrolling the park each night, ready to document the massacre of these birds. Last night, our patrols stumbled upon half a dozen of these contract killers laying in wait to kill goose mothers, fathers, and their babies. They told us, ‘We’re here to gather the geese.’ With more concerned residents than geese at the park last night, it seems there is more than meets the eye in this scheme to kill our native wildlife when they are flightless and most vulnerable,” said local resident of Long Valley NJ and a former resident of Peapack, MaryLynn Schiavi.

Activists are questioning the urgency with which these killings are happening could be more than just clearing the park ahead of 4th of July. 

The town just approved a major development deal on the former Pfizer facility next to Liberty Park. A Facebook group, Save the Liberty Park Canada Geese in Peapack-Gladstone, suspects the geese could be caught in the crosshairs of a deal worth millions of dollars to Peapack. The group amassed 407 members before being paused since members are extremely concerned for their personal safety.

Schiavi said, “There is something serious going on here that’s not about goose droppings.”

The geese killing plan has sparked significant controversy among residents, leading to widespread outrage over the massacre of native wildlife. Despite exorbitant costs, the presentation of multiple non-lethal solutions, numerous protests, and generous offers from volunteers to regularly clean the park, as well as a commitment from Animal Protection League of New Jersey to pay for the application of Flock Free bird deterrent and a habitat modification plan, Peapack Council has failed to pursue humane alternatives to its controversial and expensive lethal plan.

Massacring Canada geese is both cruel and ineffective at resolving perceived conflicts with native wildlife. During roundups, geese are separated from their offspring, leading to heartbreaking scenes of parents and young calling out for each other. In many cases, the panicked birds are gassed to death — a painful process not suited to their physiology, as geese can hold their breath for prolonged periods.

New Jersey 101.5 Radio Producer Kyle Clark opined, “It's a cruel, cruel solution to a problem that doesn't need one.”

Every year, thousands of geese are killed in gas chambers, but this inhumane practice can be avoided. Non-lethal alternatives are available and effective in managing goose populations, helping communities coexist peacefully with these sentient beings. Habitat modification plans, for instance, address the root causes of goose complaints by altering the features that attract them in the first place.

Lisa Levinson, Campaigns Director at In Defense of Animals and the National Goose Protection Coalition said, “We applaud the heroic actions of Peapack's residents to protect their geese. We are continuing to provide support to the community at this difficult time and reiterate their calls for the Mayor and the Council to halt these plans right away and coexist with our wild animal neighbors.”

On behalf of local residents, Schiavi made a final impassioned call to Peapack’s Mayor and Commission to call off the goose killing. “We are asking with all our hearts, we have at least 15 volunteers who want to clean the park on a regular basis. We will do this to save the birds going through a horrific death. Animal Protection League of New Jersey has offered to fund the creation of a new riparian buffer that will dissuade the geese. Why the council won’t accept it, we don’t understand. Rather than wasting $9,000 a year on cruel and outdated methods that will just leave the pond open for a new flock to move in, humane, effective solutions should be given a chance to allow geese and humans to coexist. We are calling on the Mayor and the Council of Peapack to call off the goose killings right away.” 

For more information on how to protect geese and prevent roundups, visit


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Local resident, MaryLynn Schiavi, 908-256-5787,
Local resident, Jen Douglas, 908-723-1707,
In Defense of Animals, Lisa Levinson, 215-620-2130,
Animal Protection League of New Jersey, Doreen Frega, 201-294-0118

Peapack Contract with USDA:

APLNJ & Residents’ Letter to Mayor & Council: 


June 12, 2024

Dear Mayor & Council 

Peapack-Gladstone NJ

The lethal gassing of the Canada geese in Liberty Park, Peapack NJ is imminent. We are asking you with all our hearts, to cancel the contract with the USDA and give us a chance to humanely manage the flock. 

We are horrified and saddened at the thought of these creatures being shoved into a mobile gas chamber when they are unable to fly and suffocated to death by carbon dioxide. 

We ask that you accept our proposal:   

* We have volunteers willing to donate their time to clean up the geese droppings and keep walkways and pond water clean on a weekly basis.

* If the contract with the USDA is canceled immediately, the Animal Protection League of NJ, will assist and serve as a resource to the town of Peapack throughout 2024 and will pay for the following:

(a) a proposal to develop a plan to enhance the existing Riparian buffer. 

(b) the consultant fee for Nancy Minich, an ecological landscape designer, to develop the plan.

(c) The cost of commercial-grade Flock Free, applied by the Flock Free company only.

All we ask is that you consider every non-lethal method for managing the Canada Geese in Liberty Park. 


Doreen Frega
Special Projects Director
Animal Protection League of New Jersey
& Concerned Residents of Somerset, Morris & Warren NJ counties



Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ), established in 1983, is a statewide nonprofit organization, representing over 8,500 New Jersey residents. By working with the public, policy makers and government officials, APLNJ advocates for lifestyle changes, programs, policies and laws that promote nonviolent coexistence with animals.

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of defending animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in California, India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

National Goose Protection Coalition is an affiliate coalition of In Defense of Animals consisting of individuals, advocacy groups, and organizations who unite to stop lethal goose roundups in our communities and beyond. When you contact us to resolve a goose-human conflict in your community, we will connect you with one of our expert mentors for free advice and training.


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