NDOW investigates Spanish Trail for use of wildlife permit

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For as long as residents can remember, geese and their goslings have roamed the Spanish Trail golf course.

Lori Payo has worked for a Spanish Trail resident for 5 years, watching flocks of geese, honking and flying in “V” formation, is a happy part of her day.

However, their appearances began to decline.

“There haven’t been too many geese around and normally we can see flocks walking on the grass, but lately they’ve been decreasing,” Payo said.

Payo’s curiosity drove her to find answers, not expecting to find a Spanish Trail greens keeper doing the unthinkable.

“The man shoots a pellet gun at the geese and their goslings,” Payo said.

In the days that followed, Payo and other residents saw several mangled geese struggling to cross the pond. Graphic images of dead geese at the Spanish Trail golf course began to fill social media.

Video sent to 13 Action News by a Spanish Trail resident shows a dog mauling a goose as a greens keeper watches from his golden cart, then the greens keeper picks up the injured goose and throws it in the pond.

13 Action News contacted Spanish Trail management who asked not to be identified, but they confirmed that staff cleared the geese.

They say it’s legal, explaining that the Nevada State Department of Wildlife issued a wildlife depredation permit to the property.

The current permit expires in July and allows the disposal of geese by hazing, a form of kidnapping as well as euthanasia.

Property management says the removal of geese is necessary to protect the landscaping as well as people, as a health precaution geese tend to carry disease.

Although it is legal for Spanish Trail to remove geese, it is how they do it that causes concern.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife is launching an investigation into their use of permits.

In a statement to 13 Action News News, NDOW said “they are aware of the concerns expressed by people living in Spanish Trail”. The matter is “currently under investigation by our law enforcement division.”

Late last week, 13 Action News continued to receive videos and messages about the situation at Spanish Trail and we shared this information with investigators.

Over the weekend, Spanish Trail management told 13 Action News it had halted all removal of geese on the property and staff would no longer be allowed to touch geese.

Spanish Trail management says they sympathize with the residents and apologize.

Edward K. Thompson