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Police: Driver intentionally ran over geese

Sylvan Heights resident charged with felony animal cruelty; accused’s wife files complaint against mayor and her husband

A resident of Sylvan Heights is accused of intentionally running over neighborhood geese, turning his vehicle around to drive over the animals again, and then striking at one waterfowl with a yard tool believed to be a shovel. Robert Reno, of 217 North Lake Drive, was charged with felony animal cruelty on June 3. Eye witnesses at the scene of the incident where geese are known to congregate reported to the Sylvania Police Department that Reno drove his truck through a group of geese that were crossing the road near his residence. Upon driving through and striking the geese with his truck, Reno reportedly turned his vehicle around at the end of the road, and then returned to drive through the remaining geese. When officers arrived at the scene, police found at least three dead geese scattered over the roadway and grassy area around the lake. Upon seeking further with witnesses, police say Reno also used a yard tool to injure a goose. Allegedly, Reno exited his vehicle after his second passing through the geese and hit an animal with a shovel. Police chief Gary Weaver said motorists to occasionally hit the geese with their vehicles. That does occur when residents live by lakes and wooded areas. However, Weaver said Reno deliberately intended to hurt the geese. “He was completely in the wrong,” Weaver said of Reno’s actions. Weaver said Reno’s spouse Sharon Lariscy Reno presented the chief with a written letter of complaint against Sylvania Mayor Margaret Evans and her husband Osal. Reno alleged that Osal and Margaret Evans feed the geese. Ms. Reno cited a city ordinance of Section 10-2 about “Manner of keeping; complaints.” The ordinance states no person may keep, maintain or permit any animal or fowl in the city in such manner as to create an unsanitary or obnoxious condition, or to become noisy, offensive or a nuisance to the neighbors or citizens of the city, or to disturb the peace of the city. Weaver said he already had spoken with the mayor before receiving the written complaint. Weaver, Sylvania City Manager Stacy Mathis, and city attorney Hugh Hunter have since spoken with the mayor about feeding the geese. Hunter said the mayor, to err on the side of caution, agreed to stop from feeding the geese in front of their residence. Mathis said she received the written complaint on Tuesday. She had spoken with the mayor on Monday. Evans said she and Osal feed the geese to help keep the adult and young birds out of the roadway. One the day Mr. Reno was arrested, Mayor Evans was returning from a business meeting in metro Atlanta. “I am glad I wasn’t there that day,” said Evans, who admitted she admires geese for their keeping of a mate throughout their lifetime and how they fly in formation in the sky. Weaver said the charge against Mr. Reno and the written complaint are two separate issues. The charge is a state law and the complaint comes under the city ordinance.