A GUARDIAN EXCLUSIVE
By DAVID R. FRAZIER
Boise’s Park Board voted unanimously Thursday to continue efforts to hire a goose herding border collie with a prison record to help control goose poop piling up in the public parks.
Seems the Idaho Humane Society has offered up a plan to use border collies with a natural herding instinct to harass wayward geese that are too lazy to fly down to California where they can eat rice in the Sacramento Delta instead of grass in Boise parks and cemeteries.
The plan is just a minor modification of an existing program that uses inmates at the Southern Idaho Correctional Institution to train animal shelter dogs to make them (the dogs) more easily adopted. Using only border collies, they would train them to chase geese. Board members expressed concerns that the dogs might not have adequate training because inmates could fly the coop if they trained outside the prison.
Previously there was a dog trained to chase geese at the Warm Springs Golf Course, but she came at a cost of $2000. The new proposal, while not final, would have the Humane Society covering the cost of everything but room and board for the dog at a Park employee’s home. City officials still have to work out details, but it would be similar to the deal the copper dog handlers have.
Harry Krueger, a layman ornithologist and avid bird watcher who runs the website, IDAHOBIRDS.NET cautioned the board there are several species and sub-species of canada goose visiting the parks. He said unless the dogs are trained to read field guides to the birds, they would likely chase ALL birds, even those that should be welcomed in winter months because they head back north in late spring.
Krueger acknowledged the problem with prancing around piles of poop in the public parks and advocated a more labor intensive system of “addling” (shaking) or oiling eggs in nests to prevent hatching. Condoms were not mentioned, but other birth control methods including chemicals were deemed to be too expensive or ineffective.
Commissioner Harvey Neef suggested “Harvesting goose down pillows” to encourage migration to California.
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