Grafton residents go on goose chase after domesticated gaggle scared off by raccoon attack

GRAFTON, Ohio - Tuesday's rescue mission started with neighbor Don Plas roping off the fast-moving Black River in Grafton.

"Don't move the rope," yelled Grafton resident June Arnesen to her army of nearly a dozen volunteers who lined both sides of the river's embankment.

Their goal was to get nine geese back home safely to Arnesen's front yard pond about a half mile away.

"You can't rush them. You got to go slow. Don't get them nervous, and you'll actually get them to move on their own," Plas said.

"They can't live forever in the wild. They need to be taken care of," said Arnesen who's fed the gaggle of geese for more than a decade. "They've never ever fled."

Last week, Arnesen's domesticated geese and ducks were victims to an apparent raccoon attack. Some of them didn't survive and still lay dead in her front yard. But, 15 geese fled to the river just across the road and through the woods.

"It's terrible. They're not pets. Everybody asks if they're pets. No, but I care about them," she said.

With help from her neighbors and friends, Arnesen rescued six of the geese from the river Monday afternoon. But daylight diminished quickly, and they couldn't get the remaining nine birds.

Tuesday, an even bigger group returned but with heavy rain on the way, it was a race against time.

"The weather is closing in on us," said Plas.

Arnesen feared the rain could make the river swell and possibly drown the geese, which she said can't fly.

"They fly about three feet high for about 20 feet, and that's it. It's like a getaway," she said.

But after two failed attempts to coral the geese from all sides, the group safely rescued them within a matter of hours. They're now back home with the other six geese in Arnesen's garage – out of reach of any raccoons.

"Most people are happy when they leave. I'm not. I like my geese," she said.

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