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Pet ducks dying after being dumped in neighborhood pond where rescuers believe water is toxic

Posted at 7:10 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 19:12:14-05

ROMULUS (WXYZ) — Matthew Lyson knows ducks and he can spot domestic ducks that may have been dumped by their owners who purchased them as pets, only to realize that they don't stay small and require a lot of care.

"Those are all ducks that don't belong in the wild," Lyson said about a number of domestic ducks, including Pekin and Rouen ducks, that are in a man-made pond in a Romulus neighborhood.

Last Monday, five ducks and a pigeon were found dead in the water. A Pekin duck was found clinging to life a few days later.

One neighbor picked her up and kept her warm until a volunteer with Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary could arrive.

The Pekin duck is doing better after being given an antitoxin for botulism.

Lyson and his wife founded Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary and they, along with a team of volunteers, stay busy rescuing ducks that are injured, abused, or dumped in the wild by their owners.

Lyson and his team believe a high level of botulism at the the neighborhood pond in Romulus is what has been making the ducks and other wildlife sick. And they believe if the water pumps for the pond were on, that would help the situation.

"There's stagnant water and that's nothing but cesspool," said Lyson.

Action News has contacted the neighborhood's property management company and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to see what can be done to help the ducks.

Lyson and other rescuers are strongly urging people to not buy pet ducks unless they have not taken the time to educate themselves on how to properly care for them for their entire life span.

And don't dump a domestic duck or any pet in the wild thinking they will be fine on their own because they won't.

"We need to make people aware. Don't buy them unless you can commit 10 to 12 years," said Lyson. "A lot are the common ducks you find in these tractor supply stores that people buy on impulse. Those are the ones that grow quickly over the course of a couple months and people don't understand that."

"They need to be cared for. They're emotional. They hurt. They feel pain and people don't understand that," said Lyson. "They say, 'Oh, it's just a duck.' Well, it's really not just a duck. It;s a living creature. No different than a dog or a cat."