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They are a furry band of pups charged with helping rid the National Mall of goose poop.
And on Thursday the border collies that are part of the “Geese Police” were on the case, out to herd the fowl that befoul the grassy stretches near the nation’s monuments.
There’s lots of work to be done, said David Marcks whose company was contracted by the National Park Service to safely chase the birds away and keep them from coming back.
“The highest complaint we get is the amount of droppings,” Marcks said. “Each goose produces a pound” of poop per day.
Park Service officials say large flocks of geese leave large amounts droppings which can damage pipes and filters in the reflecting pool and create a public health hazard.
Earlier this year, the National Park Service announced it wanted to begin using the dogs to disperse Canada geese that frequent the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool and other spots on the National Mall. The Park Service sought public comments on a proposed plan to use the dogs to chase the large and growing geese population to other areas of the park.
The dogs got to work this week.
Officials say border collies have a natural instinct to round up flocks of geese and no birds would be harmed. Other cities have also used border collies to shoo Canadian geese and the dogs practice on smaller birds such as ducks before focusing on larger fowl.
So how do the dogs deter the geese?
The give them “the eye” Marcks told reporters in Washington on Thursday.
It seems to be working. On Wednesday, the border collies, clad in little neon yellow uniforms took to the fields and chased away 18 geese, Marcks said. This morning, they only had to deter two geese.
Dog and bird lovers can help with this effort, Marcks said.
Please, don’t feed the geese.
— Halimah Abdullah and The Associated Press contributed.