IN THE NEWS: Animal cruelty sparks outrage, residents call on council

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IN THE NEWS: On MAY 10, 2017

RESIDENTS and motorists in North Mackay are calling on council to act, after another animal life was lost due to reckless driving near the Gooseponds.

On Friday May 5, outraged residents reported seeing the driver of a white vehicle ramming through a family of geese crossing on Malcomson St, leaving one maimed and killed and barely missing the rest.

Residents say the area is well known for the wildlife that crosses near the Gooseponds, including several geese and ducks, and it's not the first time they have been targeted, hurt or killed.

They want to see something done.

North Mackay resident Tara Hannaford lives near the Gooseponds and said she, like many others, finds enjoyment from watching the animals cross and having them nearby.

"I see them every day waiting on the side of the road,” she said,

"One goose will try and cross and the others follow and they only usually go when the cars stop or slow down.

"They have little babies to tend to, they bring a lot of enjoyment to kids and their families.”

Ms Hannaford said she hopes to see the council take action and would like to see them build a bridge to allow wildlife to cross safely.

"A bridge will work as they will work it out, they already know they can lose their life crossing that road,” she said.

"They are always so careful to cross.”

Other residents and motorists have suggested the council put up clear signage that warns drivers, or perhaps even see the speed reduced on the street.

Jude Pomeroy said she has witnessed several occasions where drivers had hurt or taunted the animals with their vehicles, leaving them in severe distress.

"I've witnessed a dirt bike rider plough into the geese without even a flinch and kept on going and also a car who kept pushing into them,” she said.

"There was one car in particular, just in front of me one day, who was so impatient he kept beeping his car horn and nudging the geese with the front of his car.

"They were screeching every time he nudged, especially the big goose who crosses first to protect the rest, they were so distressed.”

Mackay resident Helen Ingram said the incident just demonstrated the ongoing issue at the Goosponds, and council's need to address it, seeing as motorists won't.

"It highlights the issue at the Gooseponds just like Harbour Road and Keeley's Road turtles crossing the road,” she said.

"They too climb all that way up the embankment to get run over.”

A spokesperson for Mackay Regional Council said officers were not aware of the issue being raised with council previously, however, were looking at installing wildlife hazard signage in this area.

Engineering and commercial infrastructure services director Jason Devitt said while the council would look to install the signs, "ultimately, the onus is on drivers to pay attention and take responsibility for their driving.”

"Malcomson Street is a major arterial road, so a formal reduction in speed limit would be difficult to justify,” he said.

"An underpass and fencing would also be a costly exercise that is not warranted at this stage.”

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