Ducks Are a Man’s Best Friends: Pennsylvanian Fights to Keep Pets

James Kistler refuses to part with the birds, who he named Larry, Moe, Curly and Fred

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While almost anyone can own a cat or a dog in Delmont, Pa., according to local ordinances, homeowners cannot keep swine, goats, sheep, insects, reptiles having a venomous or constrictor nature, bovines, quadrupeds and poultry in the living quarters of a residential structure. Apparently included under the auspices of “poultry” are ducks. It’s the duck part that has ruffled the feathers of James Kistler.

Kistler keeps four Blue Swedish ducks – Larry, Moe, Curly and Fred – as pets in his home in the town that lies east of Pittsburgh. Lest you think it’s an exotic pet, Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Blue Swedish ducks are fairly common pets and are known for being docile and quiet. In May, Kistler received notice alleging that he is in violation of Delmont’s ordinance regulating domestic pets. “You have got to be kidding me,” Kistler told the paper, recalling his reaction to the notice. Kistler must now relinquish the ducks or face fines of $500 per day because his four pet birds violate local zoning rules.

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Instead of paying the fine, Kistler and his wife have decided to fight for their feathered friends, Fox News reports. They’re going to file a $400 appeal on the grounds that Kistler does not believe the term “poultry” is meant to target chickens, specifically urban chicken farmers, which typically are raised for use of their eggs or meat. “I am not going to eat my pets,” he said. He also noted that none of his four male ducks is capable of laying eggs. Kistler added, “Frankly, how can anyone tell you what kind of pet you can have!”

A hearing is scheduled on July 22 to decide the ducks’ fate.

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