Volunteers blame Easter gifts for duck dumping at Ascarate Park
Domesticated ducks are being found at Ascarate Park following the Easter season. Local animal groups say the birds are not only a danger to themselves when left in the wild but also to the local ecosystem.
“We brought crates. We brought everything with us, thinking we were going to load up the back of the SUV and take ducks with us,” Tammy Maddox said.
Maddox volunteered her morning to rescue domesticated ducks that had been dumped at Ascarate Park.
“They don't know how to fend for themselves as the wild ducks do,” Maddox said.
They're left behind at Ascarate just like the confetti eggs they came with.
“Year after year, people get these little ducklings and chicks and little bunnies for Easter and every year, when they're done with them and the cuteness has worn off, they end up at the lake,” Loretta Hyde, with the Animal Rescue League, said.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office confirmed that dumping takes place.
“It's not something that happens all the time but it does happen,” Sgt. Robert Rojas said.
Volunteers found some of the ducks had started breeding creating more harm to the park.
“It's very dangerous because you're introducing an animal that is not native to that ecosystem,” Rojas said. “So anytime you add that sort of animal into that system, you do have issues.”
Rojas said the Sheriff's Office responds responds to dumping calls depending on the severity of the call.
If you're found leaving an animal behind, you can face a misdemeanor, which could lead to a felony.
Instead, volunteers say turn your pet over to Animal Services or a rescue group.
“Don't leave them in a lake to fend for themselves because they're going to die. They're literally going to die but they're going to die, a horrible death,” Hyde said.
The eggs found at Ascarate Park on Wednesday will be taken to Stick House Sanctuary.
Volunteers expect to be back at the park soon, with boats, to hopefully catch more domesticated ducks.