Cat stuck in a tree Sure.
Stray dog on the loose? You betcha.
Over 2,000 goldfish in need of rescue? Hmm...
It may sound like a strange request, but the Washington Humane Society doesn’t pick and choose which animals it serves and protects. Last week, our Humane Law Enforcement Officers received a call about an apartment building, Harbour Square, that was planning to drain all of their ponds for cleaning. The problem was; the ponds were filled with goldfish.
Pond comets, to be exact. They can grow up to 18 inches long and do an excellent job at eating mosquito larvae. The complex’s initial plan was to simply drain the pond, allowing the goldfish to be drained and vacuumed out along with the rest of the pond water. This would ultimately kill the fish that were sucked up, and leave it up to City Wildlife to collect the remaining fish.
The staff at City Wildlife alerted us of this plan and worked with us to find another solution. It was decided that Animal Control, Humane Law Enforcement, and City Wildlife would all pitch in to collect the fish and find them new homes.
Over the span of two days, WHS employees and volunteers, along with City Wildlife, waded through an acre of “water gardens,” which was what the pond was officially called, manually scooping up these goldfish using nets. The operation was slowed down when staff discovered five wells that held lilies and a whole bunch of goldfish. The fish kept getting stuck not only in the web of knotted lilies, but also a thick layer of very dirty water in sections of the wells.
The reason they were draining the pond for cleaning became quite clear.
Zita Macinanti, Director of Humane Law Enforcement, described the bottom of some of the areas of the water garden as “foul smelling motor oil mixed with sediment.” Our staff and volunteers spent long hours in the hot sun wading, and sometimes involuntarily tumbling, through the water garden in Carhartts and galoshes, to rescue these goldfish.
The water comets were temporarily housed in tanks donated by City Wildlife while they waited for permanent homes. At the time of publication, all goldfish have been spoken for. Thanks to the dedicated staff of Animal Control, HLE, and City Wildlife, over 2,000 goldfish get to happily live out the rest of their lives instead of getting flushed down the drain.
Visit our website for information on local wildlife and tips for coexisting peacefully with our wildlife neighbors.