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Sudden outrage over Goldfish Swim, a decades-long tradition in Springdale

(Facebook/Springdale Community Center)
(Facebook/Springdale Community Center)
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SPRINGDALE, Ohio (WKRC) - More than 1,000 fish are dumped into a pool for children to catch in Springdale's "Goldfish Swim," an event that's been happening for years. But now, the tradition is causing quite an uproar.

Springdale city leaders said the Goldfish Swim is happening as planned Sunday afternoon. It's the 46th year for the event, but animal advocates say now is the time for change.

"It's abuse and it's inhumane," said animal advocate Lisa Kessler.

Families are invited to the Springdale Community Center to catch "Spring" and "Dale." Those are some of the 1,000 goldfish that will be inside the swimming pool.

"I'm sure they do great things for the community, but I just don't think this is one of them," Kessler said.

Kessler thinks the children's fun puts the fish at risk.

"They had said that there was no chlorine in the water. My concern is even if you're draining the pool and completely refilling, there may be still some chemicals left," she said.

"It's a chemical. It's going to cause burns to the gills, it gets in the blood system and just kind of kills them from the inside out, unfortunately," said Andrew Myatt, who runs an aquatics store.

From his perspective, the chemicals are not the only hazard.

"As soon as your hands touch the fish, it does hurt the slime coat as well. They squeeze down on them a little too tight. They're very, very gentle creatures," Myatt said.

Local 12 reached out to the city for comment. City administrator John Jones said no one was available and that the city has no intentions of ending the decades-long tradition.

"I just think there's other ways to do things than putting a bunch of fish at risk. I know they're just goldfish, but they're still live animals and I love Nemo, so stop," said Kessler.

PETA sent a statement to the city urging officials to replace the event with one that does not involve animals.

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A petition has more than 4,000 signatures and several animal advocacy groups plan to protest at the event.

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