Grounds Department uses dogs to control Canada geese population on athletic fields

By Andrew Wroblewski
On February 29, 2012

Hofstra Grounds Department began an initiative on Feb. 23 to contain Canada geese after receiving a steady stream of complaints from University athletes, coaches and staff members regarding their loud presence and accumulated droppings on the fields. The geese tend to migrate toward the University during the winter months. The department says this process is as humane as possible, and that the animals involved will not be harmed in any way.

According to Fred Soviero, director of the Grounds Department, who also overlooks the University's bird sanctuary, there is nowhere else on campus for the University to institute a habitat for the geese to live in.

"Canada geese need open fields to feed and open, unobstructed bodies of water to inhabit," said Soviero. "We don't have those here at Hofstra."   

The Grounds Department has called Long Island Geese Control, who brought specifically trained Border Collie dogs to campus. These dogs specialize in steering the geese away from the area.   

"The dogs do not even touch the geese," said Soviero. "[The process] is completely harmless and humane."

Paw Pals, a club that specializes in ensuring dogs' rights, contributes to on-campus initiatives in support puppy rights, and even volunteers at an animal shelter, located in Freeport, N.Y., called Bobbi and the Strays. They too believe the use of Border Collies in this situation is humane.

"Border Collies are the smartest breed of dogs and, if there was humane way to scare away geese with dogs, I would imagine that [Border Collies] would be the dogs to use," said Amanda Martin, a member of Paw Pals. "If no animals are harmed then I don't see [the process] as much of a problem."

Despite the effort to remove the geese, some athletes using the fields said their presence was not inconvenient.

"I personally haven't found the geese to be a problem," said Tyler Botte, a sophomore member of the men's soccer team. "I believe the geese should be allowed to inhabit the fields, if they'd like."

After Long Island Geese Control finishes the process, which could take up to a few weeks, it is up to the Grounds Department to ensure that the geese do not return to the fields.

"This is not a permanent solution, but a maintenance of our fields, which requires vigilance, timing and understanding [of] the habits and lifestyles of the geese," said Soviero.


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