RICHLAND CO. (WACH)--Dozens of people spent their Cinco De Mayo remembering animals they did not own.
Dozens of South Carolinians held a memorial service at the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division's headquarters for a family of Canadian Geese killed by SLED agents in April.
According to SLED Spokesman Thom Berry, the family, including eggs, were nested near a building entrance. Berry added that many people would be chased and bitten by the aggressive birds protecting their eggs.
But members of the South Carolina Animal Advocacy League say SLED got a special permit for the State Department of Natural Resources to kill the federally protected birds. Advocates say to add insult to injury, SLED misled them beforehand by saying the family of geese were a welcomed addition to the area. Group leaders say they first heard about the incident from their source within SLED.
"There is a section in the permit where you can mark off methods that have been tried," SCAAL Co-Founder Rosemary Thompson said. "Nothing was marked. The first thought was just to kill them. Wildlife rescue groups in town were not brought in."
"DNR should be contacted and they should know better then to allow this to happen and to issue permits willy-nilly," SCAAL Co-Founder Keith Edwards said.
Animal advocates say the eggs were to hatch soon and that the family of geese would have left to be closer to water. They hope state agencies will lead by example to protect wildlife in the future.