NYC Parks Dept. May Fight Geese With Dogs

Rather Than Euthanize, Officials Hope To Scare Them Away

NEW YORK (CBS 2/ 1010 WINS) – The New York City Parks Department is considering a proposal to bring border collies with trainers to scare away the geese in Prospect Park.

After rounding up and euthanizing 400 geese earlier this summer to control the population, park administrator Tupper Thomas said scaring them away with a dog is a less brutal option.

“Have them bark away at the geese and make them uncomfortable and get them to fly to another location,” Thomas said.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports on NYC geese problem

The method has worked in places like Seattle, CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reports, and it also keeps the park a little cleaner.

“There is a lot of poop. Apparently a pound a day per goose,” Thomas said.

The Humane Society likes the idea, but other animal rights advocates do not.

“Why are we doing this when what we should be focusing on co-existing with other wildlife that we’re lucky enough to interact with and admire in city parks,” Friends of Animals worker Edita Birnkrant said.

Park Slope residents and Prospect Park fans, meanwhile, are laughing at the idea.

“I think it sounds like you made it up,” said Kelsey Bennett, when asked about the wild goose chase. “If I step in it, it’s disgusting.”

The idea of fewer droppings has Anna Catherine Rutledge looking forward to a clean park.

“It’s kind of gross when he stomps through goose poop,” she said, referring to where her son steps. “They’re mean. They’re ornery. They’re not afraid of kids.”

Other potential ideas being considered are ticketing people who feed the geese and oiling or destroying their eggs before they hatch.

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  • Chris M

    I do not believe the various vegan animal rights people will see “using” a dog to control geese as being humane – to the dogs or to the geese. Most want to exist side by side in nature with animals, but many of us know that that is impossible. In the real world – not by us “humans”, but mother nature is cruel. It is difficult to see that the life of a goose is placed over those who decide to take a flight from JFK airport! There is war overseas, 27,000 of our young men have come home injured, our economy is in shambles and HSUS, PETA and other animal rights groups are pushing their vegan animal rights agenda as a way to show compassion? Maybe these groups need to have a tour of duty, instead of costing the USA billions and have a look at the real world, instead of dreaming and plotting for a future utopian society where no animals are “used” by humans!

  • Gene Sheninger

    There are a lot of misconceptions about using Border Collies for goose control. First, the geese you are seeing are NOT the migrating ones. They are the Giant Canada that were used as live decoys before the 30’s when the practice was outlawed. The Giant Canada was NEVER a migrating bird. Then, the dogs do NOT bark, they do not chase. The follow a circular path in an attempt to gather them calmly. Of course, the geese never gather, they just fly away. The Border Collies in the hands of a good trainer will NOT chase. Finally, the Parks Department should consider buying a trained Border Collie and paying one of their own employees a stipend to handle the dog. It has worked EXTREMELY well in towns such as South Orange, Parsippany and Carteret.

  • Patty A.

    There is nothing “humane” about rounding up flightless birds (due tio summer molting), cramming them in crates and hauling them to JFK airport where they take up to an hour to die by gassing with CO2. That is horrible and cruel death, NOT “euthanasia.”

    It is truly sad that we cannot peacefully coexist with migratory birds who spend a few days to a few months in various locations, depending on the season.

    Canada geese are peaceful,, social, and very intelligent birds who valiently protect their young and mate for life.

    But, all we are able to “see” is poop.

    Millions of factory farm animals poop a lot more, but that is OK because we slaughter and eat them.

    What a sorry lot, we are.

    As “Bob” says, Canada geese are doomed if they fly and they are doomed if they stay on the ground.

    But, better that they be in the air than shoved into gas chambers.

    And should an airliner collide with them?

    Hopefully, some of the USDA thus and heartless city officials will be on it.

  • Natalie DeWitt

    I approve of scaring off the geese in a humane way, and think having dogs chase them is a good way to do it, as dogs would rarely hurt the geese. I wonder though where they can fly to next if this pond is an important stop off point in their migration. I hope there is a systematic way to keep some areas open for migratory birds as more and more stop off points are closed.

  • kalpak dabir

    How about adding a natural pedator to the park? Even a small predator like stoat, weasel or otter that will eat their eggs might work.

  • Patrick Mcgee

    Kevin Beers,
    I challenge YOU to go to the park and tell us you DON’T find either aggressive geese or lots of goose poop. You obviously haven’t been to the park at all because we go there everyday and it is indeed the case. I used to work at an airport where border collies were used to chase off the geese and it is very effective. The geese are not hurt but just encouraged to go elsewhere. What is the harm in redirecting them to a less populated area where there would been less chance of them being hurt by humans? Plese let us know what the value of these geese are to the environment. Do they eat tons of dangerous plants or insects or are they rather a drain on the natural ecology? I ask because I do not know and you seem to speak with some authority on the subject….



      • Steven Augustine

        Are you kidding? They’re considering euthanizing the homeless because the border collies won’t scare them off…

  • Kevin Beers

    There was no talk of geese being aggressive and of there being lots of goose poop in the park until after 400 geese were rounded up and exterminated. The geese were not slaughtered for those reasons. They were killed as a result of the goose strike that brought down Captain Sullenberger’s airplane. But that justification for killing the geese was discredited because the park does not lie within the 7 mile radius that the feds laid out as killing grounds and the geese in Prospect Park are not migratory. So Thomas has created this other issue and a program of culling the geese to distract attention like a magician who directs your attention to one hand while the other is doing the mischief. I challenge your reporters to go to the park and find either aggressive geese or lots of goose poop. You obviously didn’t do the leg work because you would have found out that it’s not true like so much of Miss Thomas’ statements. And it’s quite Orwellian to refer to the slaughter of the geese as “euthanasia”. The most common use of the word as described in my dictionary is “The practice of killing a human being or animal for humane reasons, especially one suffering greatly or experiencing poor quality of life”. These geese weren’t euthanized to put them out of their misery but rather as a political expediency.

    • D Arnott


  • Bob Pomilla

    I thought Bloomberg’s rationale for killing off the geese, was that they were endangering aircraft, when in flight. So now, we’re chasing them into the skies? Seems somewhat contradictory.

    The geese are damned if they’re in the sky and damned if they’re on the ground.

  • John Shiff

    If the Humane Society of the United States likes it, you know it can’t be good. HSUS was investigated by the Louisiana Attorney General for Katriina fundraising fraud after raising $34 million and spending very little on the disaster. After 18 months of failing to substantiate its claims of Katrina assistance, HSUS used the pathetic excuse/legal loophole that they don’t raise money for specific disasters, but for their disaster relief program as a whole.
    Actually, they raise money for salaries, wasteful fundraising, pension funds and activist lobbying from, coast to coast. HSUS is currently being sued in South Dakota, Hawaii and Arkansas for illegal raid/seizures of animals.

    Friends of Animals is an honest organization, and while I don’t agree with some of their positions, their Spay Neuter subsidy program helped me fix my poodle for under $50 and find a great vet for life. They have put more money into subsidized spay neuter for more years than any other group in the New York area. They deserve our support.

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