Sunday, May 2, 2004

Loud booms used to scatter geese at Cintas

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

MASON - No, the booms heard coming from Cintas Boulevard aren't a smaller version of the nightly fireworks at Paramount's Kings Island.

The noises, which have concerned some residents, are being made to chase Canada geese from the grounds of the Cintas Corp.

The Mason-based uniform company contends that geese nesting on its property raise safety concerns for its 1,700 employees. Bird excrement poses a potential health hazard, and some birds have been aggressive toward employees walking to and from their cars, said Pamela Lowe, vice president of corporate communications for Cintas.

"We've worked very hard to find a solution that protects the geese, but also ensures the safety of our employees," Lowe said. For the last several months, groundskeepers have been using a hand-held device that makes a loud boom.

"We might use it once a day," Lowe said. "At the most we might use it four or five times a day."

Deerfield Township resident Christine Neitzke, who said the booms sound like fireworks, isn't happy about the way the geese are being rousted.

"What is going to happen to them if people are doing this to them? Where are they going to go?" Neitzke said. "I think most people are shocked by it and wouldn't want it to happen."

Dan Frevert, Wildlife Management Supervisor for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, visited Cintas three years ago to help with the geese.

Canada geese are multiplying in urban areas because they have few predators, Frevert said. And, yes, sometimes the birds attack people.

He said the noise tactics are suggested by the department and can be done without a permit.

Jennifer Trepal, spokeswoman for the city of Mason, said the city hasn't received any complaints about the noise.

A letter sent March 4 by Mason Police Chief Ron Ferrell authorizes Cintas to use appropriate methods to control the geese, such as bird bombs or whistles.

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