Geese a growing problem in areas of metro Atlanta - CBS46 News

Geese a growing problem in areas of metro Atlanta

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JOHNS CREEK, GA (CBS46) -

Experts said the geese population is growing 20 percent a year in metro Atlanta and has become a concern in many areas.

"They're beautiful animals,"said Glen Rittgers of Geese Police of North Georgia, a company that humanely removes the geese. "They just need to be in a different place."

Rittgers and his son, Mike, have two highly-trained Border Collies that scare the geese, who view the dogs as predators. They never make contact with the birds and do not harm them.

"The birds are still federally protected by law," said Rittgers. "You can't harm or injure a bird, a Canadian goose. If you do, the fines are very, very aggressive."

Cities such as Johns Creek have hired the Geese Police to get the birds out of local parks.

"A lot of people will come out and feed the geese," said Robby Newton, parks division manager for Johns Creek. "They think they're doing the geese a favor, and so those geese get used to that and then they harass the patrons of the park. The safety of our patrons is paramount."

The Geese Police have been endorsed by the U.S. Humane Society and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 

Rittgers said each goose leaves behind a pound-and-a-half of droppings every day. The waste can carry a variety of diseases.

"If you have a strong immune system, you'll feel like you have a bad case of the flu," said Rittgers. "If you don't have a strong immune system, if it's compromised or if you're older, it can be really, really devastating." 

Park goers said they are glad to see the geese removed from the park in a humane manner.

"Geese are good," said Bruce Sanders. "If they take care of them and get them somewhere else so they can thrive somewhere else, that's best for everybody."

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