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Ducks down the drain

Team effort rescues wayward ducklings

Team effort rescues wayward ducklings

May 08, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - A perilous game of truck-truck-vamoose ended happily Monday after a couple of animal lovers came to the rescue of a mother duck and her babies, who were separated as they crossed a busy Hagerstown street.

Randy Catlett, of the 13300 block of Marsh Pike, was one of a few motorists who stopped after they saw some ducklings slip through a sewer drain as they attempted to cross in front of traffic at Leitersburg Pike near the former Sears building at Long Meadow Shopping Center.

The nine ducklings - eight of which went beneath the street - and mother duck eventually were reunited through the efforts of Catlett, other passers-by and officials.

"They're living things. They live, they breathe. They want to live just as human beings do," said Catlett, who like at least one of the other duck rescuers interrupted his own schedule to help the birds through fowl circumstances.

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Catlett and passer-by Ann Pensinger crouched and waddled forward as Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, wielded a long-armed net and tried to corner the mother duck and one duckling in the parking lot of the former Sears. The other ducklings chattered incessantly inside a cat carrier outside of the Humane Society's truck after being removed from the drain.

The mother duck's wing appeared stiff and sore, and she and the baby were wary of the net. The rescuers got a scare when both birds darted toward the street after one unsuccessful net strike.

Pensinger took off after them, and she and Miller steered them back toward the safety of the truck.

"Of course, I always stop for animals. I can never leave them behind," said Pensinger, who hurried from the scene after the rescue. She said the incident put her schedule behind about two hours.

Catlett said he was discouraged that most area motorists displayed no concern for the wayward birds.

He said an officer from the Hagerstown Police Department told him he could not help free the ducklings from the drain and a person at the city's water department also was unhelpful.

After The Herald-Mail called city officials about the ducks, a city employee opened the drain, according to Catlett.

About two hours after Catlett first noticed the ducks at about 4:05 p.m., they all were aboard the Humane Society truck. Miller said a rehab specialist would examine the mother for injuries, and she would be treated, if possible. He said the family would stay together.

"Ducks are worth no less in terms of the way I see it than any other two-legged, four-legged, webbed-foot, feet, whatever .. especially when they can be saved so easily," Catlett said.

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