Dog helps keep flightline safe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nathaniel Kelleher
  • 314th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 314th Operations Support Squadron has a new tool to keep the flightline here safe, and he works for mere kibble.

Since Oct. 1, military working dog Colin, a 2-year-old border collie, has patrolled the perimeter fence to deter deer, birds and other wildlife from crossing into the runway area.

"(Colin) will bring our bird- and deer-control program to completion," said Lt. Col. David Carey, 314th OSS commander. "I'm confident (he) will, in conjunction with the deer fence, all but eliminate the threat of an aircraft operating from our airfield striking a deer or large flock of birds."

Airfield operations flight officials leased Colin for one year from Flyaway Farm and Kennels at Boiling Spring Lakes, N.C. Little Rock and Dover Air Force Base, Del., are currently the only Air Force bases actively using dogs to deter wildlife.

"As of Oct. 1, there has been a significant reduction in deer activity on the airfield aircraft-movement areas," said Clarence Williams, base airfield manager. "We are currently in a 'Is it because of the collie?' test phase."

Airfield operations flight members take Colin around the flight line three times a day or when a specific threat needs to be addressed. The dog deters wildlife by urinating in areas where he detects other animals' scents. By marking his territory in this manner, the border collie introduces a predator into a predator-free environment, said Rudy Abenido, an airfield-management shift supervisor.

Border collies are highly intelligent dogs and were originally bred hundreds of years ago to be silent, adaptive wildlife deterrents, according to Colin's biography. Their silence and discipline make them effective in high-noise-level work areas.

"Colin is a hoot," Abenido said. "Not only is he a hard worker, he's the best-trained dog I've ever been around, to include personal and hunting, much less had the pleasure to work with. He's great." (Courtesy of Air Education and Training Command News Service)