How Border Collies Ward Off E. Coli
Researchers train them to keep gulls off beaches
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2014 4:07 PM CDT
File photo of a border collie at the beach.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A new defense against the nastiness of an E. coli infection during summer has four legs and a wagging tail. Researchers at Central Michigan University trained border collies to keep seagulls away from Lake Michigan beaches, a feat that in turn reduced the amount of infected droppings from the birds, reports the Los Angeles Times. The scientists tried the trick at various stretches of beach during the summers of 2012 and 2013, and subsequent measurements of bacteria showed significant drops in the patrolled areas.

"They control very well," says a researcher on the project, the results of which were presented at a meeting this week of the American Society of Microbiology. "You just kind of point and say ‘go’ and they take off. Then they chase away the gulls and you whistle them back." Ah, but what about the dogs themselves answering nature's call on the beach? Not to worry, reports the BBC. The smart pooches generally took care of business before reporting for their beach work, and handlers were there to scoop on the rare occasions that didn't work.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
westword6
May 22, 2014 4:46 AM CDT
Note to the purveyors of canine P/C, who insist all breeds are equally safe and cuddly: Border Collies are highly intelligent, personable, loyal, and even tempered. A wonderful companion and working dog.
TwoSheds
May 22, 2014 3:01 AM CDT
Even after the seagulls learn how to crap on the dog's head, it is still a net win.
Tabbico
May 20, 2014 9:15 PM CDT
E. collies. Gotta love 'em!!!!