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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Chase is on - geese patrol

By Margie Wuebker

Chase, a Border Collie destined to become New Bremen's director of goose control. . .

NEW BREMEN - The village's newest employee works cheap and requires no health insurance or various fringe benefits with the exception of well-balanced meals, a roof over his head and occasional dog treats.
Chase, a 2-month-old Border Collie, met village council members Tuesday night. They hope he solves a continuing problem with Canada geese. Approximately 300 of the fowl have found a home in the fenced-in area near the village's wastewater plant.
The mild-mannered pup will become director of goose control by late summer or early fall.
"Border Collies herd geese but don't kill them," said council member Dennis Burnell, who first proposed the idea after other methods failed. "The geese get tired of the hassle and move on to a safer environment with fewer interruptions."
The black and white pup arrived in New Bremen last week. He spends nights at the homes of wastewater superintendent Jerry Fischbach or assistant Dave Goodwin.  
The village bought Chase for $190 from a northern Indiana breeder. A dog house and run, computer chip identification, neutering, shots and food will be additional costs.
Chase, so-named by Goodwin, accompanies village employees on their rounds. He soon will take obedience classes.
"I've been a council member for 12-plus years and nothing has generated more concerns or comments than this ongoing problem with geese," Burnell said. "We spent $2,500 on a sound system that is sitting in a drawer somewhere because it didn't work."
Chemicals also failed and even village administrator Wayne York's nighttime forays into the fenced area around the large pond at the wastewater treatment plant failed to scare off the unwelcome critters. The village even obtained a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to shake nests to keep eggs from hatching.
"I've done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people," Burnell said. "What we are doing now may be unique to us, but it's not unique elsewhere."
Contacts at Ivy Hills Country Club and Lunken Airport in the Cincinnati area reported Border Collies solved their problems involving geese. The dogs enjoy riding in trucks and aboard golf carts, but their natural chasing instinct kicks in at the drop of a feather.
"Geese create a health hazard with all their droppings," Burnell said. "We need to get rid of them, and Chase is the dog to accomplish the task. He just needs interaction with people and some treats in return."
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