The Lakeland Village Community Association alleges that a Cypress-area retired couple have created a local nuisance by regularly feeding domesticated and wild ducks.
A Texas homeowners association has filed a lawsuit against two Cypress retirees for allegedly feeding ducks in their spare time.
According to The Houston Chronicle, the unusual lawsuit requests a court-ordered injunction prohibiting the couple from continuing to feed waterfowl, as well as monetary relief up to $250,000.
If George and Kathleen Rowe are found in violation of the Lakeland Village Community Association’s rules and cannot afford to pay any potential damages, the association is asking that they be allowed to foreclose their home.
“We didn’t have the $250,000, so we have to be prepared in case that’s what it’s going to cost,” Kathleen Rowe told The Huffington Post.
The Rowes’ home, adds the Post, overlooks a waterway “filled with ducks.”
The couple stated that they believe the ducks had been “dumped” in the area without necessary survival skills, prompting the two retirees to feed them.
However, the Lakeland Village Community Association claims that the Rowes’ habit has impacted other residents, with the itinerant waterfowl allegedly causing extensive property damage.
Local homeowners claim that the ducks “tear up gardens with their beaks,” and routinely defecate on homes, vehicles, and other private properties.
“The violations are detrimental to the Subdivision […] causing imminent harm and irreparable injury,” the lawsuit states.
The Houston Chronicle notes that the conflict between the Rowes and Lakeland has been “brewing” for years.
The Rowes, writes the Chronicle, purchased their home over a decade ago, after the unexpected death of their adult daughter.
They purchased their home, in part, because it had a waterway-facing porch.
Kathleen Rowe said that she started feeding the local ducks after she noticed what appeared to be a domesticated fowl among the native black-bellied whistling ducks.
Rowe, believing some of the ducks may have been dumped in the area by a farm store, decided to intervene.
“They’ve never had a mother,” Rowe said. “I feel like I’m just stepping in.”
Rowe said that the Lakeland Village Community Association never raised a complaint in two years. However, after residents began criticizing her practice of feeding waterfowl, neighbors indicated that the ducks had damaged their properties.
An environmentalist told The Huston Chronicle that the dynamic is not unexpected, and recommended that people neither purchase or abandon domesticated ducklings, nor feed waterfowl already present in an area.
A neighbor of the Rowes said that he does not believe the retirees should have to face litigation, but did admit that the ducks have created a plethora of problems.
“They’re tearing up everybody’s yard,” he told the Chronicle.
The Huffington Post notes that the United States Department of Agriculture generally warns against feeding ducks and other wildlife.
On its webpage, the department says that human food is not healthy for ducks.
Furthermore, large amounts of ducks can produce “up to a pound” of feces per day, potentially polluting landscapes and local waterways.