Pearland TX

City of Pearland: Kill the Ducks! & DON’T FEED THEM! City’s Final Solution to the Duck Problem

It wasn’t long ago (2017) that the City of Pearland embraced its legal status as a Bird Sanctuary, and supported our local wild ducks. Pearland made national headlines when Pearland Police Department made a coordinated duck rescue of a mother duck and her ducklings.  Now it seems that in 2019 the City of Pearland has changed its tune on Pearland’s Ducks.

Recently of Pearland has noticed a colony of ducks walking around their neighborhoods, such as in neighborhoods like WestWood Village near Turner Highschool. In the case of WestWood Village, the ducks are supposed to live in the duck pond at Cabot Cove. However, the ducks fly to neighborhoods like WestWood Village and search for insects and other food. This began to upset some of the residents who seemed to have contacted the city.

The City of Pearland released a statement on what do about the duck problem stating, “Despite Pearland’s status as a bird sanctuary city, a federal control order against the Muscovy ducks supersedes the bird sanctuary ordinance, as well as other federal migratory bird statutes. As such, the general public has the legal authority to address the ducks … without the requirement of a permit.” So what do they mean by “address the ducks?. The City of Pearland is asking local residents to “destroy” (kill) the ducks. Pearland put out this helpful guide for the anti duck residents of Pearland:

Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 10.34.30 AM
screenshot of City of Pearland Website

One resident, John, of WestWood Village said in a comment on the group’s Facebook Page, Thanks for sharing. While I think these ducks are annoying, I have no interest in capturing or killing them.”  Some residents support the ducks, putting out mini-duck ponds and even food for the ducks. However, the City of Pearland in their statement wants the duck sympathizers to know,  “For those parties who may not find issue for the ducks, note City ordinance prohibits the feeding of ducks.”   The City of Pearland also states they will decline to aid duck situations themselves stating, “In advocating for landowners’ and HOA’s exercising their own powers, the City’s Animal Services will not be involved in the capture or destruction of the ducks. To do so would fall outside the Animal Services’ mission and could require a substantial amount of public resources”

To sum it all up: The City of Pearland is not going to help with the duck problem citing lack of resources, the City does not allow you to feed the ducks, and the City is aking you the citizen to either capture or kill the ducks.

If you have a comment about this issue please contact Pearland City Manager Clay Pearson cpearson@pearlandtx.gov 

READ THE CITY OF PEARLAND’s ARTICLE IN ENTIRETY:

Native only to Mexico, South and Central America, and three counties in the United States, Muscovy ducks have taken residence in Pearland and are ruffling some feathers.

Noted for their red, warty-spotted faces and varying black, white, and brown plumage, the ducks are often seen frequenting the neighborhoods of West Oaks and Westwood Village, but activity has been recorded throughout the city.

 

In response to the growing sentiment, the City is encouraging landowners and homeowner’s associations (HOAs) to address the ducks as seen fit, and within legal parameters, by the HOA or the landowner.

Despite Pearland’s status as a bird sanctuary city, a federal control order against the Muscovy ducks supersedes the bird sanctuary ordinance, as well as other federal migratory bird statutes. As such, the general public has the legal authority to address the ducks—including Muscovy duck nests, eggs, and hybrids—on their property, without the requirement of a permit.

Similarly, while the Federal Order permits the destruction of the ducks, the destruction is not mandated, unless the duck is captured and not released as stated below.

What HOAs/landowners can do:

  • Capture the Muscovy ducks
    • If the duck is not destroyed (killed), it must be transported to Hidalgo, Starr, or Zapata County. These three counties are the only counties in Texas and the United States where the duck may not be destroyed and can be released.
  • Destroy the Muscovy ducks
    • The duck must be destroyed by legal means. Note that in Pearland city limits, the discharge of a firearm is generally illegal.
      • If a duck is destroyed where use of a firearm is permissible, the person doing so much use nontoxic shot or nontoxic bullets.
  • Contract an agent to capture/destroy the ducks
  • Following the capture/destruction of a Muscovy duck:
    • Ducks MUST be disposed through burial or incineration

What HOAs/landowners/residents/visitors/agents cannot do:

  • Capture/destroy the ducks if:
    • The take (capture, destruction, harassment) occurs at a place or on property they do not ownOR
    • The agent has not received permission from the HOA/landowner
      • HOAs and landowners may permit or contract their tenants, employees, or other outside entities to capture/destroy the ducks
  • Keep, consume, sell or offer to sell the duck, or release the duck in another location with the exception of releasing in Hidalgo, Starr, or Zapata County.
  • Participate in the take of a native species
    • The take of a duck other than a Muscovy can lead to charges. HOAs, landowners, and their agents must be certain they are destroying the Muscovy species. Accidental takings can damage native populations.
    • In the event of an accidental take of another species, the accidental take MUST be reported to the Fish and Wildlife Service or Ecological Services Office for the state/location for the occurrence.

For those parties who may not find issue for the ducks, note City ordinance prohibits the feeding of ducks, including Muscovy ducks.

Those who fail to abide by the above standards could be subject to criminal charges or civil penalties.

City Involvement

In advocating for landowners’ and HOA’s exercising their own powers, the City’s Animal Services will not be involved in the capture or destruction of the ducks. To do so would fall outside the Animal Services’ mission and could require a substantial amount of public resources.

Animal Services will continue to advocate for landowners and the rights they have, as well as educate the public about general control measures concerning the ducks. Animal Services will also continue to investigate cases of animal cruelty and unlawful animal killings, including those involving the Muscovy ducks.

 

 

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