Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and the entire town board have taken steps to continue a partnership between some hardworking border collies and the township’s Conservation and Waterways staff in the battle to control Canada Geese droppings at local parks and other town facilities. In a unanimous vote at the January 12th town board meeting, the town extended a lease agreement that will keep two border collies on-the-job, fighting the good fight against Canada Geese and their unsanitary droppings.
“We love our hard-working border collies at Hempstead Town,” said Santino. “What’s more, kids who play on local fields and neighbors out for a stroll love the fact that we are doing a good job at keeping Canada Geese droppings under control at local town facilities.”
The two border collies are trained specifically for this purpose by a company called Border Collie Bird Control, from which the town leases the dogs. The town will extend the lease for the two dogs through December 31, 2016. Hempstead Town has used border collies for goose control for the past 10 years. An important component of maintaining use of these dogs is that the town has personnel that are trained to handle these “working dogs.”
“It is obvious that the Canada Geese present issues that require constant attention,” said Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney. ”I am pleased that our town is using humane methods to keep local facilities free of geese and their droppings.”
Other methods of goose control that Hempstead Town utilizes include egg-oiling and use of kayaks to chase the geese from local waterways and wetland areas. Egg-oiling has been an extremely successful population control method for Canada Geese in the town for a dozen years. These birds have no natural predators and can produce 10 eggs per pair, amounting to a growth rate of 10 percent per year so population control is very important. Biologists in the Hempstead Town Conservation and Waterways Department do the egg-oiling during the geese’s molting season.
“Hempstead Town’s humane goose control program has been a model for other areas throughout the country,” noted Santino. “In fact, Geesepeace, a well-known and respected non-profit organization dedicated to resolving this wildlife conflict humanely, refers municipalities from around the country to us as a result of the success of our program.”
Hempstead Town’s Conservation and Waterways Department has also done research for the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the success of the program. In 2009, Hempstead hosted a meeting of GeesePeace of the Tri-State to discuss a regional approach to the issue. Participants in this program included USDA Wildlife Services, NYC Audubon, NY Department of Environmental Conservation and neighboring townships.
“It is clear that an aggressive goose control agenda is effective in enhancing the quality of life for those who use town parks and facilities,” concluded Santino. “I am pleased that Hempstead Town continues to be part of the solution in humanely dealing with the issue of goose control.”