Animal advocates plan a Thursday protest in Lacey over goose population controls that the Township Committee hasn’t yet solidified.

Members of Animal Rights Activists of New Jersey say they’ll rally in front of  the Municipal Building at 6 PM, an hour before the governing body’s public meeting.

Teeming flocks have become a health and economic problem, say township officials who note swimming beaches befouled with droppings, raising bacteria levels and resulting in sporadic closures throughout the summer.

Earlier this month, township officials agreed to pursue a $6,000 program through the US Department of Agriculture that involves collecting the birds and euthanizing them with gas. Opponents insist there are humane options worth investigating.

Township Clerk Veronica Laureigh acknowledges that the Township Committee isn’t set on the capture-and-kill approach, but adds that commonly-seen metal dog replicas planted in open areas lose their effectiveness once geese realize that they’re not a threat. Geese, she says, return to where they are hatched, presenting a possible alternative of moving them away from the area when they’re breeding.

One other method under discussion involves eagle-shaped kites that appear predatory to geese.