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The Suburbanite
  • Dogs called in to control goose population

  • Hope, a border collie, is part of Green’s new plan to make its parks a little cleaner for visitors this summer. While dogs are not permitted in Boettler Park, visitors may notice border collies in the park this spring and summer. The city of Green recently contracted with Ohio Geese Control, a company that uses trained collies to chase geese out of the park.

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  • City officials are putting their faith in Hope, a brown-and-white border collie with a big job on her paws.
    One recent morning, Hope ran through the Boettler Park grass toward a gaggle of geese. As the dog rapidly approached, bounding happily through the spring air, the geese flapped their wings and flew away. Hope stood and looked up at the sky with satisfaction.
    Chasing geese is a big part of Hope’s day when she’s on the job at any of the Green City parks. When there are no geese to chase, Hope puts her nose is to the ground sniffing away at all spring smells. When the geese have scattered, she often trots to the pond for cold drink of water before getting ready for her the next goose-chasing assignment.  
    Hope is part of Green’s new plan to make its parks a little cleaner for visitors this summer. While dogs are not permitted in Boettler Park, visitors may notice border collies in the park this spring and summer. The city of Green recently contracted with Ohio Geese Control, a company that uses trained collies to chase geese out of the park.
    This is an ecological approach to managing the geese population without using chemicals.
    Jeff Hower, owner of Ohio Geese Control learned about the method at The Ohio State University where he studied turf management. Hower worked for a golf course where he had chance to work with dogs and geese before he decided to start his family business that serves northern Ohio.
    “We are just entering this area (Summit and Stark County) and hope to gain more customers over time,” said Hower.
    Ohio Geese Control has six dogs that are used to chase the geese.  The dogs have different backgrounds. Border collies are ideal because of their wolf-like glare and their intelligence. They are a natural herding dog and are often used on sheep or cattle.
    While geese seem like innocent wild animals, they can cause significant damage to a park by creating unsafe and unsanitary conditions for visitors. One goose produces one to two pounds of droppings daily, which foul ponds and litter the play areas and ball fields.
    “At Boettler Park, the geese population has risen significantly in the past few years, which is effecting the ecology of the pond making it costly to maintain,” said Mike Elkins, superintendent of parks and recreation. “In addition, geese are leaving droppings on the soccer fields, in particular, as they fly between the pond and the wetlands creating unsanitary conditions for our kids and families.”
    Geese droppings can be a health risk and carry Salmonella, E coli and Listeria. Also geese in parks often lose their fear of humans because people feed them and they become more aggressive towards their territory, especially during nesting season.
    Page 2 of 2 - In order to control the geese, trained border collies are brought in to harass and chase the geese from an area. After awhile, the geese seek other areas due to the dogs’ presence in the park. The dogs do not harm the geese in any way, but this method is an effective and a natural way to eliminate geese from a park.
    This method of control is effective for a few years before geese begin to return.
    The border collies will be in the park at various times throughout the day and will be wearing orange vests. Park visitors are asked to not pet the dogs, while they are working.
    In addition to Boettler Park, the dogs will also remove geese from the pond area in front of the Central Administration Building and Spring Hill Sports Complex.
    Total cost for these three areas for 17 weeks is $7,395.
    Visitors to any city of Green park are reminded that dogs are only permitted in Southgate Park.