ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A number of towns and colleges in eastern Massachusetts are now utilizing a safe and humane way to get pesky geese out of parks.
They're relying on the services of border collies Jack and Blitz, on patrol for the Geese Police, a company with franchises all across the country.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe caught up with Geese Police of Boston Metro Elliot Oren and the two dogs while they were hard at work scaring Canada geese out of Hayward Field in Attleboro Tuesday morning.
Oren said the dogs listen to his commands and use a stalking posture while approaching the geese.
"They really look like a predator to the geese," Oren said. "They don't run after them, they don't bark. Their head is down, their tail is down, and that is the same language as a wolf or a fox when they are about to attack."
But Blitz and Jack never actually attack, and the geese are never hurt. The practice is approved by the Humane Society and PETA.
"Even though the geese are never harmed, they think that they're going to get eaten," Oren said.
Oren uses the same commands shouted by old Scottish sheep-herders.
"'Walk up' literally means 'walk straight up toward the geese'," Oren said. "It's a controlled, slow stalk where the dogs are staring down the geese, and they really look like a predator. And then 'come by' means clockwise run around the geese. 'Away to me' is opposite, so that's counter-clockwise around the geese. 'That'll do, here' is their recall, so that's how you call them back."
Oren said they are hired to do goose control at a lot of city parks, colleges, and schools, and that the bulk of their customers are commercial properties like office parks and shopping centers. He said it takes repeat visits, but the technique works to keep geese away.
"Generally when we first start a property, we're there several times a day every day for the first couple of weeks," Oren said. "After that we can usually visit less often, but we still visit every day. After the first few weeks of service, the geese usually stay away for days or weeks at a time."
Oren says herding is in the dogs' blood.
"They can't get enough," he said. "They are ready to go to work at all hours of the day or night. They will work all day long and never get tired—it's pretty amazing!"
(Photo: Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio)
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports