18-year-old accused of harming geese in Va. Beach


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Animal Control officers tell 10 On Your Side an 18-year-old is accused of killing three goslings.

Ashton Westmoreland is out on bond after officers arrested him last week. He’s accused of strangling and beating the baby geese to death.

At Virginia Beach’s Spence Crossing, Mother Nature is part of the neighborhood.

“We had a whole bunch of baby geese,” said resident Michele Learmonth. “They were just precious.”

But Monday there are three less goslings circling the pond.

“It’s awful,” Learmonth added. “You just watch this family, the mom and the dad watching these babies, it’s just precious.”

Virginia Beach Animal Control says last Thursday Westmoreland took three goslings and carried them over to nearby Princess Anne Road.  Officers say he then strangled each one and slammed them into the ground.  They died due to blunt force trauma.

Westmoreland was arrested shortly after police arrived.  He has since bonded out of jail.

“We can’t wrap our heads around why somebody would do something like this to an innocent animal,” said Virginia Beach Animal Control Supervisor Meghan Conti.

10 On Your Side stopped by Westmoreland’s Virginia Beach home.  He wasn’t there, because he was in school. He’s a senior at Landstown.

“It’s very hard for officers and for anybody who works in the animal field to hear that somebody is capable of doing something like this to an animal and is heinous to an animal,” Conti added.

Westmoreland will have his hearing July 23.  If convicted, he faces three years in jail.

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