Long Island parks need dogs to chase away geese

Shadow, an 8-year-old Labrador retriever, is an employee of the Town of Babylon. She and her owner Wendy Broglie take their job very seriously. For the past four years, Broglie has been a waterfowl control person. She and Shadow help chase away Canada geese and brants, which are a smaller species of goose, from the town's parks.

"I get up at 4:30 every morning, head out to my first park, pick up my radios," Broglie said. "As soon as the sun starts to break, there's quite a few, between two and three hundred."

With spring around the corner, the Town is looking to fill a few more positions.

"When we started the program, we were counting as many as 300 geese at Town Hall," said Rich Groh, the town's chief environmental analyst. "Now we're upset when we have a dozen geese."

If the geese aren't chased away by June or July, they molt and lose their feathers leaving them stranded here until the fall, experts say. Not only are the geese a nuisance but too many of them can be a health hazard.

"The droppings contain bacteria. We have rainfall and that washes the bacteria into the bay and it causes water-quality problems," Groh said.

Aside from chasing the geese, the town also coats undeveloped eggs with corn oil to stop them from hatching.

Job requirements include an outdoor-oriented dog, a balanced temperament for both the person and the dog, a dog's license, driver's license, and proof of up-to-date vaccinations. The position pays $13 an hour with a maximum of 40 hours in the summer and 20 hours for the rest of the year.