Dog patrols protect diner's food from seagulls in Sydney
Greg Navarro

For years, people who dined next to Sydney's iconic Opera House were often visited by unwanted guests, seagulls.

"I've seen people sitting with a burger in their hands and the seagull swooped and literally takes the burger out of his hand and flies off," said Opera Kitchen general manager Trevelyan Bale.

The staff had tried several potential solutions to keep the gulls at bay but nothing seemed to work.

"We tried sonic deterrents, we had wire covers over the food, we even commissioned a robo-hawk that promised to keep the seagulls away back in 2014 and within three hours of having it installed there was a seagull sitting on its head,” said director of visitor experience Jade McKellar.

Earlier this year, the Opera Kitchen turned to a seagull patrol program involving dogs. When the handler spots a seagull, the dog scares it away.

Seagull patrol dog Muffin with trainer James Webb. / CGTN Photo

Seagull patrol dog Muffin with trainer James Webb. / CGTN Photo

"We selected dogs who wanted to chase seagulls, we bring them down here and then we train them to do that on command," said James Webb, the owner of Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

In just two months, McKellar said the results have been impressive.

"Since the puppy patrol has been on site, there are zero refunds from seagulls. So it has been such a great success and we are so pleased."

(Cover image: Seagull patrol dog Muffin. /CGTN Photo)