Airport buys $7,500 dog to chase animals from runway

The 18-month-old border collie will wear a special reflective vest, safety glasses and ear protection

Yeager airport near Charleston, West Virginia, will soon have a new helping paw to protect its runway from unwanted visitors.

The airport newly purchased an 18-month-old border collie named Hercules that will be specially trained to chase away birds and other animals away from the landing and take off area.

18-months-olg border collie Hercules will help Yeager Airport  get rid of animals from their runway — Shutterstock chase
18-months-old border collie Hercules will help Yeager Airport get rid of animals from their runway — Shutterstock

As the training of such capable assistant requires professional trainers and time, Hercules will be a bit costly. The price is $7,500.

According to Nick Keller, assistant director at Yeager, the dog’s role will be to protect the public.

“Every airport has problems with bird strikes and wildlife on the airfield. It’s a big safety hazard, so a dog can be a real predator,” Keller said. “It will keep birds, deer, coyotes, rabbits away from the airfield.”

According to the Voice of Virginia, the pupper is now being trained for a range of verbal and whistle commands in North Carolina.

Keller added that the airport decided to buy the dog on the recommendation from a US Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist. He allegedly said that the dog could potentially reduce deadly animal collisions on the airport’s runway.

According to Keller, border collies are the best helpers around an airport because they don’t have the instinct to kill the animals, but only hunt them.

The staff at Yeager will receive five days training in how to handle Hercules. While on duty, Hercules will have to wear a special reflective vest and even safety glasses and ear protection. He is to be on call 24 hours a day.

“Several other airports have been using dogs to reduce air strikes and found it to be extremely successful,” Keller added.

For instance, commercial airports serving Charlotte, North Carolina, and Fort Myers, Florida, that keep using dogs trained by Flyaway Geese, LLC, the company training Hercules, he said.