|Updated: 12/28/2011 11:03 pm
||Published: 12/28/2011 7:34 pm
The City of North Little Rock has decided to use dogs to control the goose population in Burns Park instead of having a hunt.
Preparations are currently underway to rent border collies until the city can purchase its own dog.
In Little Rock at Rebsamen Golf Course a border collie named Fern is already on the job patrolling. Fern has been successfully chasing geese off the golf course for years, so North Little Rock hopes to have similar luck with nearly 200 nuisance geese in Burns Park.
Assistant Facility Supervisor at Rebsamen Golf Course, Eric Bowden, says Fern's job performance is perfect. "Notice we don't have any geese on the golf course. Just the presence of her being here scares geese away."
Trained to follow commands, Fern loves her work, which is more like play on the green, and Bowden says she has no plans to quit anytime soon. "She is far from retirement. Far from it, actually, she's very active everyday. She's 14-years-old, but she still knows her job."
Her work has earned her Employee of the Month, and Bowden says a magazine cover for winning the title, Superintendent's Best Friend. "She has never requested vacation and never called in sick. That's what makes her the best employee."
That's why North Little Rock is on the hunt for a Fern of its own. The city plans to first rent a border collie and then purchase one as part of a plan combined with egg-oiling and flashing lights to scare away geese in Burns Park. The non-lethal options will cost $25,000 initially. Half the funds will be covered by the Coalition to Save the Geese.
If the non-lethal plan doesn't work, the mayor could call the hunt back on. That's why park ranger Kate Finefield is asking everyone to help. "We want to emphasis to people to not feed the geese. That is very important because even though the hunt has been called off, that doesn't mean you can go back out and feed the geese. That will just create the problem on-going."
Gary Westbrooke of Lose-A-Goose meets with the City of North Little Rock Thursday morning to sign a contract to lease at least one dog to start making runs in Burns Park next week.
Finefield says they hope to have their own dog in the next couple of months.