The town of Lysander has enlisted Tink to frighten geese away at Lysander Park. Tink’s owner, Mary Lathrop, is a park attendant. (Submitted photo)
Families with four-footed, furry members, rejoice: The Lysander Town Board voted Oct. 5 to allow dogs on six-foot leashes within the park.
The conversation about allowing dogs in the park began when the town was trying to solve the “heavy goose traffic” in the park, as Town Supervisor Joe Saraceni called it. The flocks of geese have led not only to unsightly goose droppings all over but to the risk of bacterial infections. Saraceni said his son, who plays Pop Warner football, became ill, as did a handful of his teammates.
Saraceni said Onondaga Lake Park uses a collie to scare away geese, to the tune of $4,000. Town Engineer Al Yager said Timber Banks employs two Weimaraners to keep geese off the golf course.
For now, Lysander is employing a budget-friendly version of this solution.
Park attendant Mary Lathrop has begun bringing her little dog, Tink, to work with her. Three times a day — in the morning, at lunchtime and just before quitting time — Lathrop let the dog out of the small park office to chase the geese away.
“It did the job. It basically kept the geese off the playing fields and most of the geese out of the park in general,” Recreation Supervisor Tony Burkinshaw said at the work session preceding the Oct. 5 meeting.
Saraceni attested to Tink’s success as well.
“I saw one goose [recently] as opposed to 50 or 60 geese,” he said. “This dog terrorizes them, and it looks like a guinea pig.”
Burkinshaw asked the town to reconsider the ban on dogs in the park, given Tink’s success as the “goose patrol.” Dogs would not be allowed in the proposed spray park.
“It’s apples and oranges,” Deputy Supervisor Bob Geraci said. “Letting people bring their dog to the park has nothing to do with geese.”
Geraci added that he supports both ideas, just not the conflation of the two.
“The real issue is most families have a pet and it’s part of the family. If they’re going to the park for the day, they should be able to bring their dogs and follow the rules,” Councilor Bob Ellis said.
Burkinshaw said dogs will have to be on a six-foot leash and owners must pick up and dispose of their waste. He said the town could install “pet stations” that dispense plastic bags for that purpose.
“It’s a self-policing, peer-policing program,” Geraci said. “People for the most part are respectful of those kinds of regulations.”
Geraci joked that the town should establish a petty cash fund for Tink’s salary: Milk-Bones.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.