Woman's therapy goose has some Waukesha Co. neighbors crying foul

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by Lane Kimble

MERTON -- You've probably heard of a therapy dog.  But a therapy goose?  Believe it or not, one Waukesha county woman is fighting to keep her best friend at home.

"She just calms me," Carla Thomas said.

People in the Village of Merton know Thomas as 'the crazy goose lady.'

"[The goose] knows 'no', 'be nice', 'that's not nice'... She's more polite than most kids," Thomas said.

Carla initially got her four-year-old Chinese goose, Mabel, for nutrition -- Carla says Mabel's eggs  are healthier than most.  But after Carla was injured in a motorcycle crash, lost her job and her father died, Mabel became a comfort.

"I would think that any animal that can lower your blood pressure  and relieve you of your anger would be a therapy," Thomas said.

But not everyone's embracing Mabel's benefits.

"It's really a big deal because it is pretty loud," neighbor Heather Mangold said.

Mangold and her husband had enough of Mabel's honking over the years.  They wrote an email complaining to the village administrator.

"The goose honks at two in the morning, two in the afternoon, eight in the morning when you're drinking coffee on the patio," Mangold said.

It turns out noise is only half the problem.  Merton Village Administrator Tom Nelson says no one is allowed to have poultry in a residential area.
 

"The plan commission, I guess, agreed that it was in violation of the ordinance," Nelson said.  "However, we weren't too sure about the ADA or HUD regulations when it came to emotional support animals."

For now the village attorney is working to figure out if Carla could keep the goose as a therapy animal.  Which means...

"Her goose is not cooked yet," Nelson said.

"We try to keep our dog quiet, neighbors do the same thing," Mangold said.  "That's really what we're looking for, to keep Merton a quiet, comfortable place to call home."

"If I lived in the city, I guess I wouldn't have thought of getting a goose," Thomas said.  "But I live in the country."

Carla says if the village rules against her and Mabel, she knows of a farm she could send the goose too.  But Carla's worried Mabel is too domesticated to survive there.

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