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Friday, August 19th, 2011

New employee keeps geese moving

By Margie Wuebker

Chase runs up from behind to scatter geese at the New Bremen wastewater treatmen. . .

NEW BREMEN - The newest employee at the local wastewater department ruffles feathers and keeps unwelcome visitors at bay, but village officials have no complaints.
After all, he works cheaply and requires no health insurance or costly fringe benefits other than a well-balanced diet, a roof over his head and occasional dog treats.
Chase, a 9-month-old Border Collie, serves as director of goose control at village-owned property off North Walnut Street. His mission is making life downright unpredictable for Canada geese whose noisy honking and messy habits make them unwanted in these parts.
"Border Collies herd geese but don't kill them," said council member Dennis Burnell, who first proposed purchasing a dog after other eradication efforts failed. "Geese get tired of the hassle and move on to a safer environment with fewer interruptions."
The black and white canine takes off like a bullet when geese land at the wastewater department pond.
"He loves to chase geese so he rightfully lives up to his name," wastewater superintendent Jerry Fischbach said with a smile. "He rips into them like a bowling ball and they skedaddle to the center of the pond.
Burnell asked village council members about purchasing a dog last year after contacts at Ivy Hills Country Club and Lunken Airport in Cincinnati reported Border Collies solved their geese-related problems.
"I've been a council member for 12-plus years and nothing has generated more concerns or comments than the ongoing problem with geese," Burnell said at the time. "We spent $2,500 on a sound system that is sitting in a drawer because it didn't work."
Chemicals also failed and even village administrator Wayne York's night forays on a golf cart into the fenced area around the wastewater treatment plant failed to chase away the birds. The village even obtained a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to shake nests as means of preventing eggs from hatching.
Officials purchased the mild-mannered pup for $190 from a northern Indiana breeder. Additional costs included computer chip identification, neutering, immunizations and a dog house complete with run - the total far less than the unsuccessful sound system.
As many as 300 geese once nested at the fenced-in area surrounding the wastewater plant. This year, 70 to 80 squatters built nests with only 13 located inside the fenced area. Few of the eggs hatched due to periodic shaking. Fewer geese are expected each ensuing year.
"We had a problem with seagulls before he arrived on the scene," Fischbach said."They left and never returned once Chase started patrolling the property. Getting rid of the geese will be a three-year process."
The community will have the opportunity to see Chase during the Bremenfest parade at 1 p.m. Sunday.
"The highlight of his day is riding around in our pickup trucks," Fischbach said. "He puts both paws on the door and hangs halfway out the window getting far more than his share of attention.
"Chase loves people of all ages," Fischbach said. "He expects attention from old and young alike because he is New Bremen's renowned goose-chasing dog."

Chase, the Border Collie who serves as the unofficial director of goose control for the village, will not be appearing in Sunday's Bremenfest Parade as stated in the story.
The error was made in editing.
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