Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Story of Lefty

This is a story that caught my eye earlier today in the Ottawa Citizen. Many of the newsletters I subscribe to, of course, tell tales of abused animals so it's good to be reminded that many people (a majority, I like to think) do feel compassion for animals in distress.

Lefty the Canada Goose at Paul Lindsay Park in Ottawa, October 27, 2008.
Photograph by : Photo by Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen

Graham Hughes, Ottawa Citizen
Published: Monday, October 27, 2008

OTTAWA - A flood of e-mails and phone calls has prompted Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Norm Sterling to try to come to the rescue of Lefty, a young goose that was born with one wing.

The youngster, abandoned by its migrating flock, has been seen swimming around the pond behind Amberwood Golf and Country Club in Stittsville, raising fears among area residents that it will freeze or starve to death. They want it caught and taken to the Wild Bird Care Centre.

Mr. Sterling said Lefty's situation has sparked a lot of feedback to his office. On Friday, staff received 40 to 50 calls and "a bunch of e-mails."

"This morning, we got another 20," he said. "It probably would rank in the top three I would receive in a year...We haven't received near that many calls with regard to the most recent (property assessments), where their properties have been valued at an average of 20 per cent more."

It's the second deformed goose to show up at the club in as many years. Last year, in mid-November, the course's superintendent captured a young wingless goose and turned it over to the centre. There, it was deemed sterile and forever flightless.

On Monday, Mr. Sterling made a private member's statement in the legislature describing the goose's plight and explained he is working with the Canadian Wildlife Service to try to help the bird.

"Since migratory birds are the responsibility of the federal government, I have been in contact with the Canadian Wildlife Service, an agency of Environment Canada, and asked that they do something to help Lefty," he said.

"While I appreciate hearing from my constituents regarding Lefty's fate, I suggest concerned citizens also contact Canadian Wildlife Service directly at 1-800-668-6767."

While he was unsure what could be done to help the bird, Mr. Sterling said: "If we could keep the bird somewhere safe over winter and then put it back on the pond for the kids, that would be wonderful."

He conceded there was a bit of irony in a Conservative MPP helping a bird called Lefty.

"I don't very often go to bat for a lefty, but in this case, there were special circumstances. The NDP guys got quite a kick out of it, actually."

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