Duck dumping ruffles feathersWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Perrysburg resident Kelly Meister shared her frustration concerning locals’ dumping unwanted pet ducks at Three Meadows Pond in Perrysburg, which has caused her to make weekly visits since 2000 to keep the population down to a minimum.
Meister, author of “Crazy Critter Lady,” which recounts her memoirs of rescuing wildlife, now resides in Perrysburg Twp. after moving from an adjacent subdivision near the pond, which is located off Three Meadows Drive. Since she has moved, she said she still makes frequent visits to the pond to feed the existing domestic ducks and collect their eggs.
Meister said the “duck dumping” is a problem since the ducks are “non-migratory” and will continue to increase in population.
If she did not regularly collect the eggs each week, she said the “population would explode in no time.”
Meister has identified the two main breeds found at the pond as Pekin and Rouen ducks. She said the domestic variety (the Pekin ducks) are bred to be raised on farms for food and can live 20 to 25 years.
Meister said she has looked into duck rescue groups. However, she said the ducks do not travel well in crates and many duck sanctuaries are overfilled.
Bob Tarte, who has authored animal-themed books based on his life experiences, including “Enslaved by Ducks,” came to the Perrysburg area for a book signing of his latest book, “Fowl Weather,” on May 26 at Books-A-Million, and to check out the ducks at Three Meadows Pond under Meister’s invitation.
Tarte, who resides in Lowell, Mich., said most of the ducks near his home have come from people who have called him to take their unwanted ducks.
“Often domesticated ducks can’t fly and often depend on handouts for survival,” Tarte said.
Animal Control Officer for the City of Perrysburg Jeff Studer said while there is not an ordinance that prohibits people from dumping the ducks at the pond, he said they do not want them there, because they have to keep the pond open winter-long since the domestic ducks cannot fly away.
Kevin Newsome, state wildlife officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, said, “Anytime anyone is releasing domestic or farm ducks into the wild is usually never a good thing.”
He said when a domestic bird produces offspring with a wild bird, the offspring will be “a lot less likely to make it in the wild.”
Newsome said it is “irresponsible” when people buy pets (like rabbits and ducks), especially around Easter, and do not think of the future when that pet matures. He said they should consider the long-term care before purchasing a domestic animal of that nature.
He said domestic fowl put into a wild water area could draw other species individuals do not want in the area such as Canada geese, which can pollute the water with their feces.
A pond or any given habitat can only handle a certain number of species, Newsome said.
“Too many animals in one space are going to suffer,” he said. “They can run out of food and the spread of disease will be more likely.”
Newsome reiterated Studer’s comment about no ordinance existing that prohibits dumping ducks into the wild.
However, if the water area is located on private property, he said those who are dumping could be considered to be trespassing.
In addition, he mentioned it is illegal to release domestic turkeys into the wild.
“We want to keep the wild bloodline pure,” he said.
A bigger message extends beyond the dumping of the ducks, according to Meister.
“The main thing is people don’t seem to be mindful of the cruelty of animals outside the treatment of cats and dogs,” she said.
Meister said people allow their dogs to chase the ducks or they leave fishing implements lying around. In one instance, she said some fishing line cut off a mallard’s leg.
She said the pond can “be a nice place for the ducks to be. They are just not meant to be there.”