By Staff 5-24,2016
It’s just been over a year since the City’s Parks Division hired its first canine employee and Flo has been a model employee.
Flo, a Border Collie, was purchased by the City as a humane method to control the increasing geese population on City properties, such as parks, golf courses and cemeteries. Flo went through extensive training at the Hudson Valley Wild Goose Chasers in Nyack, N.Y. The City purchased her for $6,000.
In the past year, the City has saved 700 man hours at Holliday Park from having to cleanup after the geese. That alone is a savings of $9,450. But there are other benefits of having fewer geese in Holliday Park. “Shelter reservations and general utilization of the park has noticeably increase and there were no resident geese in the park over the entire winter months, and very few, if any geese, stooped to even rest,” said Jason Sanchez, assistant director of parks and recreation/projects. “As a result, the turf grass looks to be healthier and even started to grow in areas that have been problematic in years past.”
Some of Flo’s other accomplishments:
• The City’s athletic fields (Brimmer Park, Dutcher and Junior League) are almost goose free. This has resulted in fewer cleanups on the synthetic turf. The City has saved 20 hours of cleanup each month at each of these facilities.
• The Airport Golf Course and Kingham Prairieview Golf Course have seen fewer geese than in years past.
• Egg addling has decreased in the last year. City employees only addled around 25 eggs this past year, which compares to well over 250 eggs in previous years. There were only about three nests that hatched this past year in all areas of the Parks and Recreation Department control, which resulted in less goslings and less resident geese that will call City-owned property home.
The City has tried other methods to control the geese population on City property. “Those efforts have included the adoption of a City ordinance to prohibit people from feeding geese, egg addling, general hazing, coyote decoys, bird bangers/whistlers, and had contracted with a company that uses a dog. Flo is a working dog much like other canines in City service. She is not a pet and should not be disturbed while working¬¬,” said Mayor Rick Kaysen.
“I think we have only seen a glimpse of what Flo can do and I expect even better results in the future,” said Sanchez.