Originally created 05/13/05

Ducks out of water cause traffic worry

Ducks at an Augusta apartment complex have been served eviction orders after running afoul of the law.

The problem, according to Richmond County authorities, is that the ducks living around a pond at Springhouse Apartments have a tendency to wander into traffic.

"We received complaints and sent officers out there on several occasions," said Bruce McClure, the field operations manager for Richmond County Animal Control. "The initial officer spoke with management and informed them of their legal responsibility."

When problems persisted at the complex off Pleasant Home Road, the property manager, Angela Sanders, was cited. The charge: "fowl running at large." According to court records, Ms. Sanders appeared last week before Chief Judge William D. Jennings III in Richmond County Magistrate Court, where she pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor offense.

Judge Jennings offered two options: fence the ducks in or "humanely" remove them within 20 days.

Ms. Sanders opted for removal and - under the terms of the judge's order - must provide proof of their relocation. She was also sentenced to 60 days' probation, suspended upon the ducks' prompt eviction.

An employee who answered the phone at Springhouse on Wednesday said Ms. Sanders was unavailable.

The apartment complex newsletter told residents the ducks likely will be trapped and "taken together about 100 miles from Augusta to a farm where they can live a happy and healthy life together and not have to worry about getting hit by a car."

Mr. McClure said ducks normally are not a hazard.

"This was different," he said. "We had a deputy concerned over traffic safety."

Roads surrounding Springhouse include Pleasant Home, Bobby Jones Expressway and Walton Way Extension - all of which already have traffic issues.

"It's a dangerous area already, and we don't need cars slamming on brakes and swerving because of ducks," Mr. McClure said, noting that Animal Control had already recovered one duck hit by a vehicle.

Staff Writer Sandy Hodson contributed to this article.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.


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