For Culpeper-area residents who see geese as a nuisance, a dog-led service run by an Army veteran will humanely drive the birds away from living spaces, as the business expands westward.
Fredericksburg resident Bill Edwards and his working dog, Anna-Liz, partnered to launch a Culpeper-area chapter of Geese Chasers LLC in October. The professional geese-management service, based in New Jersey, uses trained border collies to facilitate relocation of unwanted geese.
The method relies on the herding dogs and their handlers to bother Canada geese into permanently fleeing the premises, the business said in a statement.
Edwards began a 12-year Army career as an infantry soldier in the Alabama National Guard while attending the University of Alabama. He has a bachelor’s degree in human environmental science.
Commissioned a second lieutenant, Edwards was assigned to Camp Casey Korea as Headquarters Battery executive officer and Battery Platoon leader. He rose through the ranks to become a captain, providing counsel to top leadership on employment of artillery, land, and air assets.
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A combat veteran, Edwards was selected and assigned to the 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade, as directed by the Department of Defense.
The veteran first learned about the opportunity to own a Geese Chasers franchise during a program about transitioning to civilian life. Its unique service, established business model, and built-in support appealed to Edwards and lined up well with the skills he developed through his military experience, the business said.
The small businessman and his border collie are excited to be offering the service in Arlington, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotslyvania, Stafford and Washington, D.C.
“When I first saw the Geese Chasers process in action, how quickly, effectively, and responsibly it eliminates bothersome geese, I was simply amazed and knew this was a concept I wanted to be part of,” Edwards said.
Support from the Geese Chasers team will benefit Northern Virginia communities, he said.
CEO Bob Young founded Geese Chasers in 1998 after a round of fetch with his new border collie, Boomer. A golf-course owner stopped him to share how the dogs were used in the Midwest to chase geese, and asked Young if he would be willing to try it out.
Boomer cleared 200 to 300 geese that first week. From there, the company took off.
Young sold his first franchise in 2011 in New Jersey. Northern Virginia is its eighth location. Expansion into Connecticut and Chicago is expected later this year.
“The Canada geese population grows by 15 to 20% every year—and so does our business,” Young said. “Wherever you find geese, grass and a body of water, you’ll find Geese Chasers working to safely and effectively clear bothersome geese to enable community members to fully enjoy their beautiful outdoor spaces. We look forward to bringing this humane and effective service to Northern Virginia and are confident Bill will find great success as an entrepreneur.”
Edwards, since launching a month ago, has a few client proposals out and hopes to sign his first contract soon. He’s been busy with trade shows and promoting his business.