Efforts to keep geese out of Ballwin city parks are about to be a bigger challenge. Their most effective deterrent... border collies... are not in next year's budget.
The city's been using specially-trained border collies to chase away (without attacking) about 100 geese from area parks and the golf course. But at a cost of more than $1,000 a month, the dogs didn't make the cut.
So next spring when the geese are nurturing their young and are easily agitated by people getting too close, a walk in the park may not be such a "walk in the park."
I met a woman who lives near one of the parks inhabited by geese who told me, "I wouldn't want to bring my kids up here with all the geese around. I know how they are."
There's also the goose droppings that get all over the place including playgrounds. Unsanitary.
The geese like the short grass, the water in the ponds and all the food they get from people who aren't supposed to feed the geese but do. They're here almost year round, but a guy from the Parks Department tells me they're not that big a problem in the colder months because there aren't as many people in the park.
The city will do what it can to control the goose population by addling the eggs, which means pouring corn oil on them and keeping them from hatching. Other than that, workers can set off bottle rockets in the park when visitors aren't around and scare the geese away... but they'll be back.