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