Politics & Government

City Hall lets the dogs out in the war on Canada geese

Start with the proposition that dogs and geese are natural enemies. And Wichita’s about to unleash the former to try to get rid of the latter.

After hearing from a goose-control specialist about the menace of Canada geese in Wichita, the City Council on Tuesday approved using trained dogs to chase geese away from places where people gather.

The council took that action after hearing from Chris Stoneberger, who recently moved to Wichita to start a business called Goose Troopers — slogan: “Let’s get the flock out of here.”

“Our goal is to use (dogs) to work and get rid of your nuisance which is Canada geese,” Stoneberger said. “They’re disgusting, they leave droppings everywhere...

“This is a really, really, really cool important thing that we could bring to your city.”

He said he already has a contract with Wichita State University to chase geese off the campus and he’d like to do the same for the city government.

Stoneberger, who formerly worked for a goose-chasing business in Kansas City, said the dogs are trained to scare — but not touch — the geese as they urge them to relocate elsewhere.

“It’s not ‘Release the hounds!’” Stoneberger said. “Our dogs go through months and months of training. I also went through training through Geese Police in Kansas City and I finished up in Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.”

Stoneberger made his comments to the council during an agenda item to alter the city leash law, proposed by the Park and Recreation Department, which wants to hire a goose-chasing service like Stoneberger’s.

The geese on the city’s golf courses leave behind lots of dung for golfers to step in and management thinks the chase dogs can help alleviate that.

The park department’s research also found that the leash law made no exceptions for police canines and Fire Department rescue dogs to operate off-leash, which they’ve been doing, apparently illegally, for decades.

The change to the leash law cleans up that issue as well.

The amendment makes it legal for dogs to be off-leash when they’re working with any law enforcement agency, or with the approval of any city department head.

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Senior Journalist Dion Lefler has been providing award-winning coverage of local government, politics and business in Wichita for 20 years. Dion hails from Los Angeles, where he worked for the LA Daily News, the Pasadena Star-News and other papers. He’s a father of twins, director of lay servant ministries in the United Methodist Church and plays second base for the Old Cowtown vintage baseball team.