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Quackdown: Pennsylvania town fines man for pet ducks

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James Kistler of Delmont holds his pet duck Fred at his home on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-ReviewBrian F. Henry | Tribune-Review

A Pennsylvania man is facing a fine of $500 a day for having four pet ducks.

Delmont resident Jim Kistler was notified that having his web-footed pals, Larry, Moe, Curly and Fred, is a violation of a borough ordinance, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. And even though the ducks are kept in an enclosure and not exactly dangerous, there doesn't appear to be much he can do.

“It’s not easy to deal with,” Kistler told FoxNews.com.  It is absolutely ridiculous. I am very upset about it.”

“It is a David and Goliath story, they really don’t want me to have the ducks. But most of the borough is rallying behind me, so we will see what happens.”

- Jim Kistler

The ducks won’t hurt anybody, according to Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.  Blue Swedish ducks are fairly common pets and are known for being docile and quiet, he said.

“They are a domesticated species,” he said. “These guys have been bred for centuries. It's really no different (from a dog or cat). If my neighbor had one, I wouldn't mind.”

But the borough ordinance doesn’t just ban ducks. Swine, goats, sheep, insects, reptiles having a venomous or constrictor nature, bovines and quadrupeds — such as elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, moose and deer are all forbidden as household pets. The municipal law also bans “poultry,” a classification which apparently takes in ducks, but which Kistler believes is aimed at residential chicken farming.

“I am not going to eat my pets,” he said.

Zoning Board attorney John Sweeney said it is up to the board to decide whether or not Kistler is in violation of the ordinance, with its decision to be handed down within 45 days of the hearing.

“The borough will present  evidence in an effort to show that there was a violation,” he told FoxNews.com. "The resident who is accused of violating it will also have a chance to do so.”
Kistler keeps the ducks in a pen in his yard with a disposable pool and a small wood house. The pen is secured with a lock and is topped with a predator screen for protection from redtail hawks.

A hearing is scheduled with the borough on July 22 to decide the fate of the ducks.  Until then, Kistler hopes to garner as much support as he can to help his cause.

“It is a David and Goliath story, they really don’t want me to have the ducks.” he told FoxNews.com.  “But most of the borough is rallying behind me, so we will see what happens.”

Click for more at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review