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NEW LAW TAKES EFFECT IN HELENA, ALABAMA: $500 FINE FOR NOT DISCARDING FISHING LINES, HOOKS AND TACKLES RESPONSIBLY

Police on lookout for litter after goose death
 
By Marienna Thomas-Ogle
Birmingham News Staff Writer
 
     Helena police are beefing up city park patrols with an eye on the activities of both humans and wildlife.
     The recent euthanization of a Joe Tucker Park goose, due to infection of cuts caused by entanglement in discarded fishing line, has prompted the move, said Police Chief Doug Jones.
     While the patrol of Helena's five parks is normally increased during the summer months, Jones said officers will be especially vigilant about littering, which can be harmful to humans and animals.
     "Anyone seen throwing fishing line, hooks or lures in anything but a trash receptable will be prosecuted, and repeat offenders will be barred from fishing," Jones said.
     "There are all kinds of objects that, if stepped on, can hurt people's bare feet, children playing in the grass, or dogs' paws, and the sad death of this goose has prompted us to give this issue increased attention," Jones said.
     Joe Tucker has become the year-round home of a combination of wild and domestic geese, said Sandra Allinson, director of rehabilitation and education for the Alabama Wildlife Center.
    Located at Oak Mountain State Park, the center treats and returns to the wild native Alabama wildlife and young orphaned animals, she said.
     The center's staff sees a lot of waterfowl and aquatic animals with serious injuries caused by being caugt in fishing materials but is not always successful in its treatment, Allinson said.
    "The earlier we can get to the animal, the better the chances of survival," she said. "But many times they've become so weak and there's so much damage from entanglement, we can't save them."
     The problem is so common that the Alabama Wildlife Center's education programs for children contain instruction on the impact of human activity on wildlife, including the discarding of fishing line, she said.
     In addition to the increased police patrol, sighs warning fisherman against littering and a fine up to $500 are being posted around the lake, said Jones.
     "A lot more people use Helena's parks, and everyone needs to be responsible and help keep them safe for each other," he said.
 
E-MAIL: mogle@bhamnews.com

NOTE FROM LOVE CANADA GEESE: This new law sets an important and very necessary precedent for other communities to follow. Congratulations to Mary Lou Simms for her efforts to educate her community about the dangers of fishing lines, hooks and sinkers. Mary Lou has a story about King and her other geese on Love Canada Geese. Several of her articles have also been published in the Birmingham News and are included on her page.






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