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"Lucy", the domesticated Canada Goose that was rescued from the side of the road as a chick by Diane Vander Wiel.
Federal authorities have returned Lucy the pet goose to her owner, and Peter Kent, the federal Environment Minister, has apologized the bird was ever taken in the first place.
Her owner, Diane Vander Wiel, had feared the worst, after the goose, rescued as a chick and adopted as a pet, was confiscated from her Fort St. James, B.C., home on Jan 11.
Conservation authorities arrived unannounced and took Lucy away in a crate, and Ms. Vander Wiel was told she could be euthanized. After she took to Facebook and shared her story, someone launched a petition to pressure the Ministry of the Environment, which has a law prohibiting people from holding migratory birds in captivity, to give Lucy back.
Then, on Friday, came the call from Mr. Kent.
“He said he was so sorry that this happened to our family, it should never have happened,” Ms. Vander Wiel said Tuesday. “Had [the wildlife officers] come out and seen [Lucy’s set-up], none of this would have ever transpired.”
Conservation officers had initially told Ms. Vander Wiel that she would face a fine under the Migratory Bird Convention Act, but Mr. Kent waived it.
On Monday, Ms. Vander Wiel received her agriculture permit, which would allow Lucy to return to her farm. The goose, who arrived home elated but a little underweight due to stress, now lives in one of two barns on the property (the chickens were moved to the other barn to prevent the spread of disease, as the permit requires).
The permit also required that Lucy’s wings be clipped, but that point was also waived, Ms. Vander Wiel said, because she needed to be able to fly in order to get away from coyotes, foxes and wolves that sometimes tread on the property.
“I said it would be cruel to clip her wings and [Mr. Kent] agreed with me.”
Lucy has been honking and running around the property, delighted to be back, she said.
“We are elated and I cannot thank everybody enough,” she said. Ms. Vander Wiel said she got calls from as far away as Italy and Australia congratulating her on the homecoming.
In their phone chat, Mr. Kent had told her he would love to meet Lucy the next time he is in northern B.C.
“I said ‘Sure, you’re so welcome.’”
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