Parks Officials Approve Plan for Border Collies to Scare Geese out of Mead Park

Parks officials on Wednesday accepted a private group’s offer to pay a Wilton-based company about $3,000 to use border collies to run Canada geese off of the large baseball field at Mead Park this spring. The birds’ droppings are an “enormous problem” and baseball players are in regular contact with the fecal matter just in virtue of playing the game, Paul Giusti, who identified himself as representing Friends of New Canaan Baseball, told the Park and Recreation Commission at its regular monthly meeting. “I think all of you know it is really bad [for baseball players], let alone [for] the toddlers that are there that are crawling around in this and these geese are getting onto Mellick and Gamble also,” Giusti said at the meeting, held in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. He was joined by Jim Higgins, president of New Canaan Baseball Softball Inc.

“We will do the first three months during the baseball season and see how this all works out. It’s not like it’s a bullet-proof kind of solution, but I think it will improve the situation for the toddlers, for the ballplayers, for everybody that is there to have a better experience at Mead Park.”

The commission approved the plan 8-0, breaking from its own policy of waiting one full month between a hearing a request or making a decision on it, citing the timing of the baseball season’s planned start in early April.

VIDEO: New Canaan Sees Progress in Canada Geese Egg-Oiling

New Canaan officials say they’re seeing fewer Canada geese laying eggs here, since putting into practice a Human Society of the United States-approved method of controlling the local population of what some consider nuisance birds. For about three years straight, the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control unit has seen seven nests in the area of the Lakeview Cemetery and Transfer Station, and this year it’s down to four. Animal Control Officer Maryann Kleinschmitt said the reason is because she and her volunteer helper, Gail Overbeck, have been “oiling” the geese eggs. The method—which requires a permit from New Canaan’s Inland Wetlands Department—involves coating the eggs with oil to seal them off, which means they won’t hatch. The message the mother goose gets is: This isn’t a good place to reproduce, so we’ll go elsewhere next time.