UPDATED: Sugarhouse Park Dumped Animals


domestic ducks
You can easily see the 15 domestic ducks because none of them could fly over a 3′ fence. They just walked into the box and were picked up. That’s how you can tell they don’t belong in the wild.

All of them are headed to safe forever pet homes now.

View the summary video.

This blog post is for Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation, Salt Lake County Council, The Sugar House Park Authority Board of Trustees and USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services in Utah.

We need to get these domestic ducks off of Sugarhouse Park pond as soon as possible. We’re working on homes for them all right now. It is not acceptable for domestic pet ducks to be left out in the open on a drained, frozen pond.

I personally watched this domestic pet duck get ripped apart while still alive. She screamed for several minutes. Eagles need to eat, but this is unnecessarily cruel and not a natural food source for them.

frozen sugarhouse park pond
When the pond is drained, as it is now for winter, the dumped domestic ducks are left with nowhere to hide. They have about a 15′ round area of open water at the West end of the pond and that’s all. The center area has frozen over since Monday.

A few facts about domestic ducks versus wild ducks.
wild versus domestic ducks
Domestic ducks are 2-3x larger than wild ducks. They’re bred larger for meat and eggs. For farm use. People also buy them for pets. They’re purchased in the spring from farm feed stores or KSL classifieds and many are dumped in the fall. Many people don’t know it’s illegal to dump pet ducks in public parks and ponds (Utah Code: Title 76 Chapter 9 Part 3 Section 301).

In the past, someone (maybe the Parks Department knows who?) has deliberately placed large numbers of urban mallards and domestic pet ducks on Sugarhouse Park pond. I do not know if that is how these specific ducks appeared at the park. But I know they need urgent help.

As of Wednesday, December 30th we have found safe forever pet homes for 13 of the 15 known dumped domestic ducks shown here. We’re still working on homes for a few boys. (People dump boys more than girls because they can be too aggressive to females and they don’t lay eggs.)
dumped ducks

I’ve labeled the domestic dumped ducks, as well as an American Coot that does not belong there, in this photo.
labeled ducks You can click the image to view it larger.

We (myself and two other local backyard rescuers) can save these ducks now. We can also transport the American Coot to WRCNU for evaluation and re-release at an appropriate site.

But we need this to stop happening.

dumped ducks
This happens every single year. We’ve rescued dumped domestic ducks off of Sugarhouse Park pond year after year after year and we can’t do it anymore. There’s nowhere for them to go. If the Parks department knows who is placing ducks on the pond, they need to make them stop. I’ve personally spent thousands of dollars on veterinary bills on dumped ducks from Sugarhouse Park pond.

dumped ducks
When they’re left with only a tiny open pool at the end of a frozen, drained pond they die. Even when they’re not being eaten alive by eagles they end up with foot injuries, with broken legs, with starvation, chased by off-leash dogs and more.

Please help me stop it.

I’ve reached out to Jared Z. with USDA-Aphis/Wildlife Services to enlist his help with rounding up the ducks. We’ve worked together before when he has done roundups and we’ve had room to take some domestics. If the rest of you need to coordinate to allow this to happen, please do. Quickly. We can be ready by Monday, January 4th to take these ducks.

Please respond. I realize you have many competing priorities. But time is of the essence here.

30. December 2020 by Silly Human
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