Port eyes pooch for goose patrol

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard Pay­erchin

The Lo­rain Port Author­ity hopes a new four­legged staff mem­ber can shoo away Canada geese from the Black River Land­ing wa­ter­front festival site.

The Port board on Oct. 10 voted 7-0 to pur­chase a trained dog to bark at, chase and oth­er­wise ha­rass geese at Black River Land­ing and other Port prop­er­ties.

“Geese know one thing: preda­tors, and that’s what’s going to move them,” said Port Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Tom Brown. “They need to be ha­rassed out of their po­si­tion.”

The dog will not hurt the birds, but will scare

them away. Port Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Spe­cial­ist Tif­fany McClel­land will be the dog han­dler, with Port Of­fice Man­ager Kelsey Leyva as backup han­dler.

“I know it sounds pre­pos­ter­ous but it sounds like a work­ing so­lu­tion to our dilemma here,” Brown said.

The pro­ject will cost about $6,000 to pur­chase the dog from Hud­son Val­ley Wild Goose Chasers Inc. of Ny­ack, N.Y. By com­par­i­son, a pro­gram to hire a con­sult­ing firm that would use dogs for goose con­trol would cost $11,300, Brown said.

The pooch likely will be a bor­der col­lie “that is trained to herd the geese off any type of prop­erty or con­di­tion by stop­ping, star­ing and in­still­ing fear in their quarry thereby teach­ing the geese that this is no longer a safe place,” ac­cord­ing to an overview from the com­pany.

“This process does not harm the geese,” ac­cord­ing to Hud­son Val­ley Wild Goose Chasers. “On land they are trained to sit down once the geese are air­borne to then be re­called or redi­rected.”

The com­pany said Canada geese are a nui­sance but are reg­u­lated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice.

Adult birds can pro­duce up to four pounds of fe­ces a day, which is un­sightly and un­san­i­tary, ac­cord­ing to Hud­son Val­ley Wild Goose Chasers.

At the Port of­fice, 317 Black River Lane, the staff have a great view of Black River Land­ing, Brown said. Some­times they also need a snow shovel to clear goose fe­ces off the pave­ment, he said.

“Jok­ingly, I’ll say, Tif­fany, would you please let your dog out, there’s geese all over the site, and, no kid­ding, a flock will come in,” Brown said. “As the weather starts get­ting colder, they come to the pave­ment ev­ery night be­cause it’s warmer. So guess where ev­ery goose drop­ping, that they’ve eaten grass and sea­weed all day, ends up?”

Goose drop­pings are prob­lem­atic at the East Pier, also known as the Mile Long Pier, Brown said. At this year’s 100th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion of the Lo­rain Light­house, a worker had to clear goose drop­pings from the area where Light­house Foun­da­tion board mem­bers, elected of­fi­cials and the pub­lic gath­ered around the new his­toric marker, he said.

The trained dog will be­come part of the Port’s of­fice en­vi­ron­ment and could be a help­ful mas­cot for mar­ket­ing the Port, Brown said.

The Port board mem­bers and staff said they do not yet have a name for the dog, which likely will be a non­swim­ming fe­male. It was un­clear when the new ca­nine staffer would start.

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