2001-Mon Dec 11 23:52:11 EST 2017
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Mosey can’t wait to get to work. As soon as her handler gives her the word, she’s off like a rocket. But this Border Collie isn’t here to herd sheep. Her job is to scare the Canada geese off a private property in Leesburg, Va.
“She can’t believe her luck,” says Cathy Benedict, president of Geese Police of Virginia, as she yells a couple of commands to Mosey in Scottish, while signaling with a silver whistle that dangles from her neck.
A pair of geese, honking in alarm, swim out to the middle of a pond to escape from Mosey, who hunkers down and gives them “the eye” — an intense stare that the geese would normally get from a natural predator, like a wolf or an Arctic fox.
“Our whole business is based on the wolflike glance Border Collies give, which is why our dogs work better than a Retriever,” says Dave Marcks, who owns a Geese Police franchise in the Washington, D.C., area. “Our dogs never, ever touch the geese.”
But these birds are stubborn, and once Benedict gives the 2-year-old dog the go-ahead to swim after them, the flock takes off.
Benedict owns a franchise of Geese Police Inc., which was started in New Jersey by Dave Marcks' father in 1996. Marcks says that his dad began using Border Collies to chase geese off a golf course they lived on after other methods failed.
“They did such a good job that it went from 600 geese to none in two months,” Marcks says. “All we’re doing is imitating nature, where they don’t have any natural predators.”
The Marcks method certainly took flight: There are now dozens of geese-chasing companies across the country, with names like The Gooseman, Fly Free Zone and Wild Goose Chasers. It’s considered a humane method of ridding school grounds, cemeteries, office parks and even airports of the messy birds.
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