When one imagines therapeutic animals, usually dogs and cats come to mind, not ducks. But humans are capable of forming emotional bonds with any animal, and an Army veteran who was wounded during the Iraq War has done just that.
Darin Welker, owner of 14 pet ducks, was cited with a minor misdemeanor June 23 for having the ducks in his yard. Now, he fears that the citation will result in him losing the mallards.
Welker, who is 36-years-old, says that the ducks help him with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and they keep him active. The village of West Lafayette, about 80 miles east of Columbus, however, has banned residents from keeping fowl and other farm animals on their properties since 2010.
According tot he Coshocton Tribune, Welker has had the ducks since March, and suffered major back injury in 2005 that required surgery in 2012:
Welker told the Coshocton Tribune that he’s had the ducks since March. He said they motivate him to get out of the house so he can feed and clean up after them.
“They’re quite a relaxing animal, and they help comfort me in different situations,” Welker recently told the Tribune as he held one duck like a baby and stroked its neck. “(Watching them) keeps you entertained for hours at a time.”
Welker served a year in Iraq with the Army National Guard in 2005 and said he came home with a major back injury that required surgery in 2012.
The Department of Veterans Affairs paid for the back surgery but declined to pay for physical therapy recommended by his surgeon and did not provide him with counseling, he said. That’s partly why he has come to rely on the ducks, he said.
Welker said he’s planning to tell the judge how much the ducks have helped him. He said he has a letter from the VA’s mental health department recommending he be allowed to keep them.
The 14 ducks live in a penned-in area in Welker’s backyard, which also has kiddie pools so they can swim.
West Lafayette Mayor Jack Patterson declined to comment on the predicament, referring questions to village police Chief Terry Mardis, who couldn’t be reached for comment.
In a major metropolitan area like New York or Chicago, I could understand the city being concerned about 14 ducks (I tend to think that some dogs are too big), but West Lafayette is not remotely New York or Chicago; it barely has a population over 2,000 people.
If his ducks aren’t bothering anyone, and he’s taking care of them and cleaning up after them, why is the city micromanaging?
h/t: Komo News