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City to veteran: Get rid of therapeutic ducks

Published On: Jul 21 2014 11:24:48 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 21 2014 11:25:39 AM CDT
Domesticated duck

Wikimedia Commons/Johnny Jet

An Iraq War veteran is trying to convince his Ohio village to let him keep his 14 therapeutic ducks.

Darin Welker told the Coshocton Tribune he was wounded in Iraq in 2005, and as a result he suffers from a major back injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The Department of Veterans Affairs paid for Welker to have back surgery in 2012, but the department wouldn't pay for physical or mental therapy.

So instead Welker decided to try therapy ducks. He brought the 14 ducks to his West Lafayette, Ohio, home in March.

"Taking care of them is both mental and physical therapy," he told the Coshocton Tribune. "(Watching them) keeps you entertained for hours at a time."

The ducks live in a pen in Welker's yard that features kiddie pools for their swimming pleasure, according to The Associated Press.

But getting the ducks also made Welker run afoul of the law. West Lafayette passed an ordinance in 2010 forbidding residents from keeping farm animals. On June 23 he received a citation from the village over the ducks, according to the Coshocton Tribune.

Welker hopes to convince the village to let him keep the ducks at a hearing on Wednesday He told the Coshocton Tribune he even has a letter from the VA's Mental Health Department recommending the ducks stay in his care. If that's not enough to convince the court, he could face a $150 fine.


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