Piper, a border collie that worked at the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, was probably the most famous canine wildlife control officer. Brian Edwards, the airport operations manager, began obedience and off-leash training of his dog, Piper, after learning about the use of dogs in wildlife control. Edwards eventually took Piper to work with him to acclimate the pupper to loud noises.
After that, it was just a matter of fitting Piper with a safety vest, sunglass goggles to protect his eyes, and earmuffs to muffle the engine noise, and Piper was ready to go. Air traffic control would notify Edwards whenever animals were sighted on the airstrip. He’d take Piper in his truck and deliver the dog to the potential threat site, and Piper would have a ball chasing birds and animals out of the plane’s way.
Piper spent his time when he wasn’t chasing birds and animals away on routine patrols and circling the perimeter of the airport, always on the lookout for new invaders or freshly built tunnels. He worked 40-hour weeks for three years, chasing a total of 9,347 birds, patrolling 1,917 kilometers, and logging 6,206 hours. In exchange for sweets and praise, he was pleased to do it. Piper’s reign came to an end on January 3, 2018, when he passed away from cancer.
Other border collies have been used in a similar role at several airports, owing to their propensity to circle and herd animals. However, they’ve been utilized to control wildlife in a variety of environments, including golf courses, parking lots, agricultural fields, and beaches. These diligent workers appear to have no trouble getting work, as they are employed by a couple of dozen airports and counting.