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Sydney Opera House Is Paying Dogs $376,000 To Shoo Away Seagulls

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Sydney Opera House Is Paying Dogs $376,000 To Shoo Away Seagulls

The Sydney Opera House is forking out big bucks to make sure people eating and drinking around the iconic site aren't bothered by seagulls.

The precinct has been using a pack of 12 canines from company Mad Dogs and Englishmen over the last few years to ensure the area is free of pesky birds and the price tag on a service like that doesn't come cheap.

Mad Dogs just had their contract renewed for another two years, which costs $376,380.

The money is paid out jointly by the Opera House, Opera Bar, and Opera Kitchen as they all depend on their guests having a bird-free time in the area.

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The company's owner and dog trainer James Webb said while it might be a lot of money, it's definitely worth it.

"Financially it pays for itself because of the amount of money the restaurants save," Mr Webb said. "The dogs love it, and we've refined our training over the years to where it is now."

There's nothing worse than sipping a glass of vino or chowing down on some chips only to have a flock of seagulls circle you waiting to pounce on your food or squark at being snubbed.

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It's far better getting to see the likes of Sweet Hope, Peppa, Muffin, Tauzer, and others patrolling the three areas with a smile on their faces.

The Opera House said it's a small price to pay for people's happiness.

"It's a nominal percentage of commercial revenue that greatly improves the experience of our visitors, reduces refunds, food wastage, and staffing costs," the landmark said.

It comes after the state opposition hit out against the idea and said it was a waste of money.

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Labor's Minister for Arts Walt Secord told the Daily Telegraph: "It is simply ludicrous that the state government is frittering away more than $376,000 on a dog and its handler to stroll up and down the Opera House lower concourse for a few hours a day to shoo away the occasional chip-stealing seagull for upscale private businesses.

"Why is the NSW taxpayer subsidising clam-eating, chardonnay-sipping, tuxedo-clad opera-goers?

"This is the government that forces NSW residents returning from overseas to cough up for government-enforced quarantine while at the same time they're doling out hundreds of thousands a year for a dog to scare away seagulls."

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The Opera House clarified that the funds were not coming from the taxpayer and they will continue with their two year contract extension for Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

Featured Image Credit: Mad Dogs and Englishmen/Instagram

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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