Patrolling the geese with doggie police put on hold by council Border collie who keeps fowl from fouling shore must be housed as pet

July 31, 1996|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

A plan to bring doggie geese police to Lake Kittamaqundi is on hold while members of the Columbia Council demand that a patrolling border collie be housed as a pet rather than live by itself.

The edict -- a rare example of the Columbia Council issuing stern orders to the Columbia Association (CA), the huge homeowners association that the council governs -- has CA staffers shelving plans to kennel the dog at a local golf course and scrambling to find a suitable owner.

In jeopardy is the entire doggie police concept, considered the solution to eliminating a flock of about 60 Canada geese that defecate near the outdoor restaurant area at Lake Kittamaqundi.

At a meeting of the 10-member Columbia Council Thursday night, council member Ken Puckett of Dorsey's Search said he was worried that kenneling the dog outside a maintenance building at the Hobbit's Glen Golf Course could render the dog "psychotic."

As he told the CA staffers: "It's not a sound idea to kennel a dog by itself in an area away from people, away from other dogs."

This is true, a local veterinarian said in an interview yesterday.

"Dogs are pack animals and, therefore, very family-oriented," said Dr. Rick Lewis of VCA Lewis Animal Hospital in Columbia. "I'd like to see someone responsible for that dog. Not stuck in a pen somewhere."

Gail Heinrich, who raises border collies at Glenn Gael Working Border Collies in Yardley, Pa., agreed.

"I certainly don't encourage the dog to be left alone for 12 hours a day," Heinrich said.

Both Heinrich and Lewis said border collies make excellent pets.

Fred Pryor, in charge of open space areas for CA, certainly hopes so.

Since last week's meeting, Pryor said that a CA staffer has stepped forward as a possible owner, with two others willing to serve relief roles. Pryor declined to identify the possible owners.

He has assured the Columbia Council the dog will be "well-loved" and "regarded as a CA staff member."

Pryor said the dog would be busy for most of the day. A staff member likely would bring the dog into work with him, turning it loose at Lake Kittamaqundi several times a day. The dog also would patrol Columbia's other lakes and its two golf courses, to prevent the geese from taking up residence there.

The dog -- expected to cost $2,500 before taking into account its upkeep and its handler's salary -- would save CA money, officials said, because CA now spends so much time cleaning up after the waterfowl.

Canada geese are protected by the federal migratory bird treaty act and by state regulations, said Les Terry, who works for the Animal Damage Control Program in the Annapolis office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The border collies are trained to chase the birds but not bite or eat them. Terry said using the dogs to control the geese is a good idea:

"It's legal, as long as the dog doesn't catch them."

Pub Date: 7/31/96

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