The city of Janesville and local park advocates are looking for dogs who would enjoy a not-so-wild goose chase during the parks’ busiest seasons.
The city’s Parks Division and Friends of Riverside Park seek well-trained, well-behaved dogs to help keep geese out of parks and off trails, said Cullen Slapak, parks director.
Geese leave droppings, create messes and often crowd around gathering places, so the city wants to keep them moving, he said.
The geese-chasing program is the city’s last mitigation strategy to have survived over the last 15 or so years, Slapak said.
In the past, the city tried setting off noisemakers, using flashing lights and even contracted with professional geese-chasing dog programs to deter geese from loitering in the parks.
Eventually, the birds came back and were no longer bothered by the typical deterrents.
The city does not count the local goose population, Slapak said, but officials don’t believe the city has a terrible goose problem or overpopulation.
These days, volunteer dogs typically chase geese at Riverside, Traxler and Rockport parks. Their main job is to herd the geese away from green space and into the water.
Six or eight people participate with their dogs each year, Slapak said. The benefit is that the dogs get the opportunity to exercise in the parks during times dogs are typically not allowed.
Under city ordinance, dogs are prohibited in city parks from May 15 to Sept. 15, with the exception of Paw Print Park and the dog exercise area at Palmer Park.
Interested dog owners should contact the city Parks Division to register. Registration allows the city to get contact information for those dog owners, which will prevent them from being ticketed for violating the dog ordinance.
Dogs should not harm or touch the geese, Slapak said.