Amendment to Wichita's leash law opens new opportunities for local business

Posted: Updated:

Chris Stoneberger and his dog Quinn are ready to get their business going. Goose Troopers is it's name, and their mission is to clear geese from public places using trained dogs like his.

They are next to ponds around the city, in residential neighborhoods and along the sidewalks next to the Arkansas River. Wherever they go they aren't unnoticed by most citizens, especially the feces they leave behind.

"I occasionally have to dodge it," said Alex Beck, a jogger on the sidewalks next to the Arkansas River. "I just kind of work around it, I'm used to it by now."

Since he jogs downtown every week, Beck said it would be nice to see some change along those sidewalks downtown.

"It'd be nice, I guess, to have it cleaner," he said.

This is where Stoneberger and his business come in.

"If geese will go there we can go there and work," Stoneberger said. "That's the benefit of what we do."

His dog is a border collie, which are well known for herding animals. However, there's always been a problem. A Wichita city ordinance wouldn't let dogs roam free without a leash within the city limits, even if they were police or fire department K-9's. Tuesday the city council amended that ordinance to allow those departments to do their jobs, along with Stoneberger and Quinn.

"The fact that we were able to get that amendment done was huge for us," he said.

Chris said geese can harm people due to their aggressive nature among other things, such as health risks.

"Their feces and the amount of droppings they produce," he said. "The amount of bacteria that's in them is very high and is unsightly, it's unsanitary, it could be detrimental to animals and people's health."

His dog went through months of training to learn how to herd geese and not hurt them.

"Our dogs are taught and they understand that their not supposed to hurt, we're not here to hurt, we're here to herd," Stoneberger said.

Since their business has only been open for one week, they don't have many clients yet. Stoneberger said Wichita State University verbally agreed to work with them right now, and as they get more he said he expects there to be a lot of work to get the job done.

"When we go on service for the property, we're on the property five to seven days a week, guaranteed five," Stoneberger said. "We're going to continue to work those birds until they feel the property is unsafe."