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Border collies used to keep Milwaukee beaches clean

Posted at 6:22 AM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 09:39:36-04

MILWAUKEE -- Bird droppings are not just a nuisance, they can close down beaches.

This is because E. Coli and Salmonella can develop, causing lost revenue and disappointed faces.

The Milwaukee County Parks Department added border collies to their roster. The dogs stalk the birds 30 hours a week.

We met "Foxy" and her trainer Jen Schwabe, with Migratory Bird Management. Schwabe explains the dog is trained to chase the birds, just as a predator would.

"Sometimes they open their mouths and they'll move slowly towards like a coyote or a wolf might do," said Schwabe.

She does not hurt them. Instead, she is herding them away. They have been doing this for Milwaukee County Parks Department for 11 years at Bradford Beach and three at South Shore Park.

They explain they are doing this because they do not want the bird droppings to make it into the lake water.

"If there are enough droppings that could actually change the water quality," said Schwabe, which could breed Salmonella and E. Coli.

Parks Director Guy Smith tells us they have seen the water quality improve over the last decade thanks to their efforts, which include the border collies help.

Migratory Bird Management is a company based in Illinois that Milwaukee County Parks Department pays to do all of this.

They also provide their services on county golf courses.