SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — In Utah, domestic duck dumping has become a real problem. If you’re visiting your local pond, chances are one has been left there.
Part of the problem: Domestic ducks don’t know how to feed themselves. So come winter, when fewer people are passing through the park and bringing food, some of these ducks start to starve.
It’s such a problem, people have backyard sanctuaries to take these animals in.
In Sugar House, Tiffany Young has been operating Ducks and Clucks sanctuary for the past five years. She said this year she’s seen a particularly high number of ducks left where they shouldn’t be.
“This year, in particular, it just seems like they're everywhere. And all of the sanctuaries in the Salt Lake Valley are completely full," Young said.
Young said regulations limit the number of ducks she can take in to 25, meaning there are a lot of ducks that sanctuaries just don’t have the space to help.
"The last week alone, I counted over 100 dumped domestic pet ducks and geese. My backyard sanctuary and a few others, we are all already at our limit. No one can take 100 animals.”
But duck dumping has become such a problem, Young said there will never be enough space to take every animal in.
“It's such a problem, that the more space I had I would be up to capacity immediately, and the more space I had I'd be up to capacity again," she said.
She says this time of year, some of those dumped ducks are starting to starve because they don't know how to feed themselves.
In Willow Park Pond in Sandy, Glade Charlesworth has been feeding the ducks at least 50 pounds of corn every month for the past three years. He said he started because he noticed some of the ducks were starting to starve in winter.
Charlesworth said he’s seen firsthand people leave ducks at the pond that don’t belong there.
"When they first built this pond, I saw a guy bring two big boxes, and there were probably 10 white ducks. That's not good for this pond," he said.
Young, with Ducks and Clucks sanctuary, says the problem will persist if people keep buying ducks in the spring, but don’t intend to keep them through adulthood. They encourage people who want to purchase ducks as pets, to contact their sanctuary. They can help them re-home an animal that has been abandoned.