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Letter to Lawmakers - Stop our local ponds from becoming dumping grounds for unwanted farm animals

Dear legislator,

My name is RaeAnn Christensen and I am currently a voting constituent in Davis County.

We desperately need your help. For far too long we have had a problem with our local parks with ponds becoming the dumping grounds for unwanted farm animals. Because of this, it is not only detrimental to the natural wildlife, but these domesticated animals are starving, getting injured, facing unnatural predators, and overtaking these parks which are meant to be a place to visit for happiness, not witnessing bloody or starving animals.

(A dumped domestic duck killed by botulism at Jensen Pond in Syracuse)

(An injured dumped domestic goose at Layton Park Pond with a bloody wing. She was dumped Fall 2020 with a predator bite that abscessed, & later started bleeding)

(A domestic duck dumped at Wetland Discovery Point Pond in Kaysville with a fishhook embedded in her cheek. Her sister also dumped suffers a badly broken leg. These are some of the injuries domestic ducks can suffer in the wild)

We do our best to try to rescue, rehome, and help as many of these domestic ducks and geese. But there’s just not enough homes and the amount being dumped each year, there’s no way to get control of this. We rescue one, and two more show up the next week.

This is a systemic problem only the state is going to be able to fix, and it needs to happen now before it gets even worse than it is. Laws need to be put in place, to prevent impulse purchasing at farm stores, or the easily accessible purchasing of ducklings and goslings online.

In the parks by my home in Davis County, each pond has dozens and dozens of dumped ducks and geese.

These domesticated animals are different than wild animals. A domesticated duck/goose depends entirely on humans for care. They should be properly housed and fed on a person’s property. Most of the time these are bought at local farm stores (IFA, CAL Ranch, etc.) who will tell you it’s not a problem because they profit from selling them and the supplies needed to care for them.

Ducklings have become a social media sensation for young people. They are a prop for cute Easter pictures. The problem is when they get bigger and people realize how messy they are, they don’t want them anymore. They will likely take them to the local pond and “set them free”. Little do they know they are setting them up for a likely inhumane death.

(Four Pekin ducklings dumped at Jensen Pond in Syracuse)

Soon this spring, we will see feed stores all across the Wasatch Front selling these ducklings to anyone who has a couple of bucks. Feed stores don’t ask for any pictures of housing, inform the customer of the animal’s needs, no adoption application, even some have gone as far as to tell people to take them to ponds once they get bigger. Online with just a few clicks, you can have them shipped right to your home. IF the ducklings even survive being mailed, many don’t, so many will end up at the local pond.

Duck dumping is not only inhumane but also illegal. It is cruel to the ducks being dumped. Winters they will starve, be injured, or be killed by a predator because ponds are iced over, and they have nowhere to go and can't fly like a wild mallard. But it is also a huge issue for wildlife. The domestic ducks and wild ducks mate, causing mixed breeds. It messes up the natural ecosystem.

These domesticated ducks are no different than sheep, cows, goats, dogs, cats, rabbits. If there were dozens of dogs being dumped these people would be cited and prosecuted.

We need your help, and some quick fixes could help curb this problem.

-Have farm stores special order babies, (this will stop impulse shopping).

-Have a form the adopter needs to sign, understanding Utah’s laws of dumping and educating the adopter of the animal’s needs.

-Require parks with ponds to display signage duck dumping is illegal

-Set up surveillance cameras to catch perpetrators

-Actually, prosecute those dumping

-Stop online shopping of ducklings unless they are licensed

(examples of signage needed for ponds)

(Domestic Rouens from Jensen Pond in Syracuse & Steed Park in Clearfield both with fishing line leg injuries. Both were euthanized because of the extent of their injuries)

(Before and after of a Pekin dumped at Jensen Pond in Syracuse. She was killed by botulism, but shouldn’t have even been at this pond)

(An eagle kills a dumped domestic Rouen. Not a fair fight, the dozen other domestic ducks have nowhere to go because the water is frozen over. Unlike wild ducks who can fly away)

(A duckling at Clinton Pond, injured by a predator attack, and botulism)

(Left: A Golden Layer domestic duck dumped at Steed Pond in Clearfield, missing tail and has back wounds from being over mated)

(Center/Right: A special needs Pekin dumped at Barnes Park in Kaysville. This guy couldn’t even walk from being so malnourished by the time we found him)

(Just a few of the many fishing injuries to waterfowl from Steed Pond in Clearfield, and Farmington Pond)

(More than a dozen domestic geese and ducks dumped at Farmington Pond)

(Left: A dumped Rouen duck with angel wing from being fed bread)

(Right: A nearly iced over Bountiful Lake where about a dozen dumped domestic ducks have nowhere to go)



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