ATKINSON — Police are investigating a case of animal cruelty after a baby Canada goose was fatally shot in the head while waddling around with a pair of adult geese and other goslings behind a condominium complex.

“It’s a pretty disturbing case,” Police Chief Timothy Crowley said Wednesday.

Police responded to the area of Wright Farm Condominiums on the morning of May 18 after a resident reported hearing the BB or pellet gun shots that killed the baby goose in a wooded area behind her unit on Hickory Pond Lane, Crowley said. The woman yelled outside that she had called police.

Officer Mark Melia responded to the call and learned that a pair of Canada geese and four goslings were in the area when the shots were fired.

“The officer got there and talked to the woman. She didn’t see anybody, but she heard the direction where it was coming from and then went over and found one of the goslings with a projectile wound to its head,” Crowley said.

The gosling was still alive, but died while Melia was on the phone with Maura Wentworth, the town’s animal control officer.

“It was obvious it was going to be a fatal traumatic injury,” Crowley said.

The other geese remained in the area after the gosling was shot, he said.

Melia searched the area and found nobody on foot and no vehicles nearby.

“It’s a pretty big wooded area with access to several neighborhoods,” Crowley said.

He speculated that the gosling may have been shot by a young person.

“If a young person is involved it’s usually an indication of future behavior problems so we want to try to get ahead of it,” Crowley said.

Police are asking for the public’s help. Crowley asked anyone with information to call the Atkinson Police Department at 362-4001.

Canada geese are federally protected and can only be hunted in New Hampshire in September.

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