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CLIFTON PARK: Town hires a wild goose chaser

An official goose chaser has been hired by the town of Clifton Park for the upcoming season in order to keep Barney Park free from the public health issues that can arise from an overpopulation of geese.

Eric Johnson, who operates a company called Wild Goose Chase, will use trained border collies to herd Canada geese away from the park before they settle in to lay their eggs. He will also use a kayak to drive them away from the surface of the pond.

Our objective is certainly not to eliminate the geese completely from our parklands, but we do feel it necessary to keep our fields safe and usable by our residents, says Judy Hughes, chairwoman of the Clifton Knolls/Mill Creek Park District Advisory Committee.

The field where the geese settle is next to a community pool, and the town is concerned about the hazard of bacterial contamination from goose excrement.

They also said there were concerns about the possibility of children being chased.

Johnson has worked with border collies for the past 10 years. His dogs, Faith and Will, have been trained to chase geese without harming them or even touching them. His methods are approved by the USDA Wildlife Service and NYSDEC.

Michael Handerhan, supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, recommended the possibility of asking Wild Goose Chase to perform the same service at the Clifton Park Commons. ""

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