This Just In: July 18 - 25 | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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This Just In: July 18 - 25

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Their Goose Is Cooked

Summary: Geese have taken over local parks, and the consensus is something needs to be done. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Andy Sheehan When it Aired: July 10 Running Time: 2 minutes, 35 seconds Visuals: * Sheehan on the North "Shore." * Border collies chasing after geese to frighten them away ... most likely to the next local park. Highlights: * When anchor Stacy Smith describes the situation: "Geese have literally taken over some of the area's most popular parks, and what they are leaving behind makes running, walking, biking or playing in those areas disgusting and perhaps even hazardous." * When Sheehan adds, "There are now a quarter of a million of these Canada geese in Pennsylvania, and they're making a mess. ... But the worse problem is in North Park." He continues, "More than 700 Canada geese, each producing a pound-and-a-half of feces a day, defiling playgrounds and picnic areas." * When a mom in the park grumbles, "You want to have this nice, you know, day out in the park, let the kids play and you really can't. I mean, it's like a minefield out here." * When County Parks Director Andy Baechle says, "It makes me sad." Sheehan explains, "[He] has heard the complaints, but rejected a plan to harvest or kill a third of these geese after animal-rights groups protested." * When Sheehan asks, "You're the stewards of this park, and it's in this condition. ... Why won't you take stronger action?" Baechle reasserts, "Again, I need to explore all the options." * When Sheehan reports, "The county has adopted a longer-range program that involves harassing the geese with border collies and strobe lights. They've also begun oiling the eggs and destroying the nest to prevent new geese from being born." * When a spokesperson for Voices for Animals asks, "Do we carry on killing everything that annoys us, or do we find ways that have been proven to work where we are coexisting successfully with wildlife?" * When Sheehan says, "[T]he strategies will take time and without a harvest the State Game Commission has said strategies like it have been ineffective. These moms have had it up to here with geese and have their own ideas." * When another North Park mom says, "I think harvest them. Yeah, I'm pro-harvest." What We Learned: Blame it on Canada. Unanswered Question: Is this what you'd call a shitty assignment? News Value: 7. Two days later, Sheehan followed up with a story about County Executive Dan Onorato pledging to do something, but he won't say exactly what (although we kind of know). In it, a Springdale man sends this message: "Start shootin' 'em. ... Dan, you know, open it up for hunting ... get rid of 'em, and the people that are starving -- feed 'em to 'em."

The Scoop on Cats

Summary: The debate persists over a city councilor's proposal to license cats. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Bob Mayo When it Aired: July 10 Running Time: 2 minutes, 2 seconds Visuals: * Mayo, live inside the newsroom. * Cats at the Animal Rescue League on Hamilton Avenue. Highlights: * When Mayo reports, "If your cat had a license and was picked up as a stray, you'd have 10 days, not just three days to claim it at an animal shelter. Now the sponsor of this bill offers that as a selling point. But cat lovers who filled city council chamber are not buying." * When he adds, "Councilman Jim Motznik says licensing cats in the same way dogs are licensed will help control a problem and a public nuisance." * Motznik's rationale: "Owners that let their cats roam, those cats causing damage to personal and private property of their neighbors -- I want to try to make them responsible." * When Mayo counters, "But cat-lovers who filled city council chamber are unanimous in arguing that cat licensing is a bad idea." * When a female opponent of licensing decries: "Unlike what this bill suggests, cats are not machines that seek out and destroy private and public property. This notion is absurd." * When Mayo informs, "Annual cat licenses would be $12 or $7, with a price break for spayed or neutered cats." He adds, "Opponents say that will make people abandon their pets, and lead to more stray and feral cats. They argue the answer is to bring back free or low-cost spay and neuter programs." * When a man deplores the proposal: "A city that wants to be worthy of the 'most livable city' title must be the most livable city ... for both people and for animals." What We Learned: The cat will mew, and dog will have his day. Unanswered Question: Does $7 really seem like a lot to be complaining about -- compared to how much cat lovers spend on "kitty"? News Value: 6. Interesting, the idea of Pittsburgh being the most livable city for animals -- but only the animals we choose (see the goose story above). I wish Mayo would have interviewed a Motznik supporter, even if he had to find him outside chambers -- or at least noted that he had trouble finding any.

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