Animal rescuers warn against dumping domestic animals in the wild

Lindsay Redfern and Kathy Martyn checking over the duck. SUS-150303-095538001
Lindsay Redfern and Kathy Martyn checking over the duck. SUS-150303-095538001

An animal charity is urging people not to dump unwanted domestic ducks and other animals into the wild.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) was called out to a bird near Uckfield on Monday (March 2) which turned out to be a domestic duck.

Rescuer Kathy Martyn, who delivered the duck to the WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith. said, “He didn’t put up much resistance and was clearly not well.

At the centre WRAS founder Trevor Weeks assessed the duck and was shocked by the poor condition of the bird.

“The duck’s feather condition is terrible, with split, frayed and broken feathers, there was a wound to the back which is similar to what we see when dogs catch waterfowl, plus what looks like an infection in both feet, as well as being underweight.

“The poor creature was very shocked and pale too. The duck clearly needs to be under veterinary treatment and is suffering.”

When taking on any animal it is a long-term commitment

At WRAS’s Centre the bird was warmed up and given some food, before being transported to the Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton to be assessed by their vets and to start its life in a new home at their sanctuary.

“This duck is very lucky and will be given a new home,” said Kathy, “this isn’t the first time we’ve been called out only to find we’re dealing with a domestic animal.

“We do not have facilities to take in domestic animals and is was lucky that we were already doing a trip to the swan sanctuary to collect a swan, so we were able to take deliver him to them.

“It is not uncommon for people to dump pets into the wild, thinking they can take their chances or have a good life, apart from it being illegal, it’s not fair on the animals which frequently end up suffering.

“Domestic animals are normally shut away at night or being kept in secure environment, so not used to having to worry about predators; they are handed food in a bowl and fed by owners so they are not used to hunting or fighting for food; they often don’t have the natural immunity to disease and infections that their wild cousins have, and when they go downhill it ends up being a slow and distressing death.”

Trevor added, “Other animals which are regularly dumped include terrapins, domestic rabbits, African Pygmy Hedgehogs and more.

“When taking on any animal it is a long-term commitment and you shouldn’t take on a pet unless you can afford to look after it, feed it, pay vets bills, and keep it in a secure environment etc. I realise there are circumstances beyond people’s control but there are sanctuaries locally which can be approached.”