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Duck saved from trash at City Park

June 08, 2002|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

A live Mallard duck was found inside two, double-knotted trash bags next to a garbage can in Hagerstown's City Park last week, but city officials say they don't why someone wanted to throw away the duck.

Sharon Reeder said she was walking with her daughter on the evening of May 31 when she noticed movement coming from a bag lying next to a trash can by the concession stand.

"I had just commented about what a nice park it was when we heard a noise coming from the trash bag. We realized that something inside was alive," said Reeder, who said she recently moved to Williamsport.

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Her daughter had once encountered a squirrel trapped in a trash bag and it almost bit her when she tried to free it, so this time her daughter grabbed a stick to untie the bag, Reeder said.

"We thought it might be a kitten," Reeder said.

Inside, the mother and daughter found a live, adult Mallard duck which was drenched and distressed but otherwise unharmed, Reeder said.

Temperatures reached the upper 80s on Saturday, according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

The feathers on the top of the bird's head appeared to have been pulled or pecked out.

"I could tell it was upset and it was trying to get its composure," Reeder said.

After freeing the duck, Reeder and her daughter decided to leave it alone to return to the water when it was ready.

"We thought, 'Let's not stress it anymore than it is,'" Reeder said.

Reeder said she told a park ranger and a concession stand employee. The concession stand worker told her she had seen a park employee handling the trash bags earlier.

City Public Works Manager Eric Deike said Thursday that he had heard about the incident but he hadn't talked to any witnesses or seen the animal.

He said sick animals at the park are taken to a veterinarian and dead animals are taken to the SPCA for disposal.

It is not city policy to throw live ducks in the trash, Deike said.

Deike said he didn't know how the animal got in the trash bag but the missing feathers aren't unusual. Ducks often peck at each other during mating season, he said.

Washington County Humane Society Director Maria Procopio said an investigator talked to Reeder about the incident and was trying to reach city officials to find out if employees placed the animal in the bag or if it was the work of vandals.

The investigations by both the city and the Humane Society are continuing.

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