A retired Cypress, Texas, couple has been sued for up to $250,000 after feeding ducks in their neighborhood.
A neighborhood homeowners association is suing the couple, George and Kathleen Rowe, for alleged neighborhood rule violations that are “detrimental to the Subdivision,” the Houston Chronicle reported.
The lawsuit could cost the couple up to $250,000, an amount that pushed the two to put their home on the market.
“We didn’t have the $250,000, so we have to be prepared in case that’s what it’s going to cost,” said Kathleen Rowe.
The homeowners association’s “requested relief” included an order to not feed the ducks and relief that “would not go above $250,000,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Rowes’ home has a porch that looks out at a “waterway filled with ducks,” the newspaper said, and Kathleen said she believed the ducks were “dumped” in the area without necessary survival skills.
The couple could now lose the home overlooking the water as the homeowners association seeks foreclosure on the property.
The homeowners association’s criticism came two years after Kathleen’s duck feeding habits started, she said, and neighbors have since claimed the ducks have been the cause of alleged property damages.
Homeowners in the neighborhood have claimed the ducks “tear up gardens with their beaks” and have defecated in the community, the newspaper reported.
Feeding ducks and other wildlife is discouraged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service page, and could lead to serious problems.
The USDA warns that human food isn’t healthy for animals like ducks and large numbers of ducks can pollute waterways with feces, “up to a pound” a day in some cases, the page says.