The Lorain Port Authority is hiring on a new staff member — a trained “goose dog.”
The Border Collie is coming from the Hudson Valley Wild Goose Chasers in New York, a company that specializes in training dogs to “haze and herd” problem-causing Canada geese humanely.
It’s also coming with a $6,000 price tag.
“I would justify it in the fact that it is a health and safety issue,” said Port Authority Executive Director Tom Brown. “If you look at the statistics, one goose can create up to four pounds of waste per day and we get hundreds of geese on this site consistently.”
Brown said the dog, set to arrive in a couple of weeks, will be in charge of about 50 acres across five sites managed by the Port Authority, including the Black River Landing, which is home to dozens of festivals and concerts throughout the year.
Brown estimates upwards of 80,000 people frequent the sites and complaints about goose droppings are number two on their list.
After searching for solutions, Brown said they decided a certified “goose dog” on site would be the most humane and most cost-effective option.
“I know it sounds wild and people will think it’s a head-scratcher, but I think you’re going to see a remarkable difference here,” Brown said.
Tiffany McClelland, who is currently in charge of economic development at the Port Authority, will be the dog’s handler and will receive specific training to do so.
So why can’t your pet dog scare off the geese?
Pete Rizzo is the owner of the Hudson Valley Wild Goose Chasers and said that the goal is to "harass" or haze the geese away from an area.
“It has to be controlled,” Rizzo said. “If it is not controlled, you have a liability. That’s the real reason.”
Rizzo said he trains the dogs, typically Border Collies, for six months to a year. He said that if the dog is used correctly, eventually the geese will stay away for good.
The Port Authority board unanimously approved the $6,000 purchase. The Lorain Port Authority is funded by a $1 million property-tax levy and has an annual operating budget of roughly $900,000, according to Brown.