Allow Iraq Veteran to Keep His Therapy Ducks


Target: West Lafayette Mayor Jack L. Patterson

Goal: Prevent Ohio officials from taking away an Iraq Veteran’s therapy ducks

Army veteran Darin Welker has been raising 14 ducks since March 2014, stating that they comfort and help him with his physical therapy. However, the village of West Lafayette, Ohio is planning to take them away due to a local law. The ordinance was adopted in 2010 and prevents people from owning farm animals—including ducks—that “cause inconvenience or annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities by smell, unsightly housing, or trespass, or which cause damage to the property of others” (Army Times). For breaking the law, Welker was cited for a misdemeanor and scheduled to a hearing.

Welker had returned from Iraq with a severe back injury, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs paid for Welker’s back surgery, they did not approve of the physical and mental therapy recommended by his surgeon. That is when Welker decided to adopt his 10 Pekin ducks and four mallards back in March. Spending time with and looking after the ducks has helped him cope with his problems. In a statement to the Coshocton Tribune, Welker said, “I saw children playing with mines and getting killed. Every night I go to sleep, I have to relive that horrible experience. I’m getting it under control now thanks to the ducks.”

Please sign this petition to persuade the village officials of West Lafayette to reconsider taking away Welker’s therapy ducks.


Dear Mayor Patterson,

Our veterans have experienced tremendous amounts of suffering and trauma during their service overseas. The least we can do is provide them with everything they need to recover from their experiences. Dogs and cats are not the only animals that are capable of providing people with comfort. In Darin Welker’s case, his 14 ducks give him happiness, and doing chores to care for the ducks helps him physically and watching them amble around his yard helps him relax. Welker also has a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Department recommending that he keep his therapy ducks.

Since the City Council already made an exception for a handicapped citizen to keep her therapy pig, Welker’s situation is no different and should be an exception as well. Please allow Welker to continue his path toward recovery and continue caring for his pet ducks.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: AnonymusJr via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Tanya Ross says:

    Please allow this injured war veteran to keep his therapy ducks. They aren’t causing harm they are helping. Please reconsider taking his furry friends from him.

  2. Good grief — why in the world would anyone be prohibited from having ducks? Is there a suburban/zoning ordinance prohibiting the acceptance of ducks in or near his dwelling? If so, well, perhaps the Vets Administration or those who purport to assist Vets, ought to find him suitable living “zone” to permit him to have the company of the ducks. There are several public ponds in suburban areas here, and there is no problem whatsoever with the ducks or geese cohabiting in the area. The cars even stop to let the geese or gosslings to cross the street. And each spring, groups of people marvel at the sigh of the mamas & papas teaching the youngsters to walk, swim, follow – and “toe the line.” They’re better parents to their ducklings than i see in the stores, by people, who think that kids racing the shopping carts is “cute” — even though they knock over merchandise, and yes, people too. A precedent HAS been set: “Since the City Council already made an exception for a handicapped citizen to keep her therapy pig, Welker’s situation is no different and should be an exception as well.” So folks, pull up your BGPs and knickers and let life and let peace prevail. May God bless his compassion and his therapy as he reinvolves himself into a society that already is judging him — despite the horrors he’d already lived through. Thank God he has the compassion to love and care again, and bless the ducks and their kinfolk for trusting him! He must have a very special spirit.

  3. Manel Dias says:

    Please people ALLOW this former veteran to have his companion therapy animals the way he needed to be. Control the Barbaric Murderers and the Thugs and the Drug addicts in your city and the towns and the community. Leave this innocent Harmless people and Animals alone. Use your intellectual side to protect the citizens from their harms way from the murderers etc. You authorities does not sound to have any brains though. It is time to change the authority figures into some ones who have the brains. Let these morons go home.

  4. Anne GRice says:

    Those who complained are most likely the same people who stayed comfortable in their safe homes whilst this veteran had the courage to serve his country in the most harrowing horrendous unspeakable situations during the war in Iraq. Does any of you small minded people who are complaining about the only action that is providing some release for the torment, nightmares and other horrifying memories know what its like to be in a war zone witnessing the worst indescribable horror? Would you prefer that this veteran becomes a criminal like those who don’t have ducks to bother you? This is a screwed up society of the most selfish unconscionable people. Leave the ducks where they are and move away because you obviously are healthy and wealthy! Despicable complaint!

  5. Jane Morrow says:

    For goodness have a heart – this is beyond ridiculous.

  6. Kaile Duncan says:

    Ohio is known to hold the highest number of exotic animal trafficking and people keeping dangerous exotics as pets. If this state allows idiots with no idea what they’re doing to keep pet lions and tigers, it is highly unjust for a man, that put his life on the line for our very freedoms to do so, to not be able to keep a few harmless and easy to care for ducks.

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