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Va. Court Will Revisit Geese Guardian's Case in 6 Months

The state and county code says that "pedestrians shall not carelessly or maliciously interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles" and calls for a fine of as much as $250.

"I think you violated the code section," Gallahue concluded. "I don't think it was the best thing for you to do. I don't know what the best thing is to do."

So the judge ruled: "You pay the court costs. I'll continue it for six months," and if Vamosi has had no other violations, "I'll dismiss it after six months."

Vamosi said he was pleased with the ruling. He said Gallahue had "a complicated situation" and that maybe the law wasn't clear enough. He said that he did not want to argue with the officer and that he supports the police.

But he also said he would take the same steps again if confronted with feathered pedestrians. "I think most people would do the same. I hope so," Vamosi said.

Some lawyers watching the case on the regular Monday morning traffic docket noted that Gallahue had a tough call because of the alternative if Vamosi hadn't stopped. If Vamosi had run over the geese, veteran lawyer Mark J. Yeager noted, "cars are going to come to a screeching halt, regardless." He also noted that Canada geese are a federally protected species and that it is illegal to "take, capture or kill" them under federal law.

"I think a prudent driver would feel obliged to stop," Yeager said. "If the prudent driver did that, everybody else behind him is going to stop."


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