They Fed Ducks in Their Yard. Now Their Home Is at Risk

Texas couple could lose their residence after HOA sues them over 'unclean' activity
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2022 10:45 AM CDT
They Fed Ducks in Their Yard. Now Their Home Is at Risk
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Junior Moreira)

A retired Texas couple is at risk of losing their waterfront home after they fed ducks in their yard and their homeowners association sued them. The Houston Chronicle reports that George and Kathleen Rowe were hit last month with the HOA complaint, which was filed after neighbors griped that the ducks were doing their business on their property and tearing up their gardens. The suit from the Lakeland Community Homeowners Association alleges that the Rowes breached community rules by taking part in activities that caused "unclean, unhealthy, or untidy" conditions and that could bring "nuisance" to common areas and "disturb or destroy vegetation, wildlife, wetlands, or air quality," per Insider.

Kathleen Rowe says she suspects the ducks grew up in an incubator, were sold as pets, and then were abandoned when their owners no longer felt like caring for them. She says they therefore don't know how to take care of themselves in the wild. "They've never had a mother," she tells the Chronicle. "I'm just stepping in." She also says she fed the ducks for two years before the HOA complained. HuffPost notes that the US Department of Agriculture discourages people from feeding ducks—and various other animals like geese, raccoons, squirrels, and deer—as food that humans eat isn't healthy for wildlife, and because some of our feathered friends can drop "up to a pound" of feces per day in yards and waterways.

The HOA is is seeking a judicial order to get the Rowes to stop feeding the ducks, and if it emerges victorious in the suit, the Rowes will have to fork over up to $250,000 in fees. If they can't come up with it, foreclosure could be in the cards. That may not be necessary, however, as the Rowes have since put their house up on the market, noting they don't have that kind of cash on hand. "We have to be prepared in case that's what it's going to cost," Kathleen Rowe tells the Chronicle. And if they end up having to move? "I'm going to miss them terribly," Kathleen Rowe says of the ducks. "I'm going to more than miss them terribly," George Rowe adds. (Read more homeowners association stories.)

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