The efforts of several Turlock residents to save a pair of ducks that had their bills zip tied has not only earned them the appreciation of their community, but also a commendation from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA also has created a financial incentive to catch the perpetrators. The organization is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the act of animal abuse.
On Sept. 24, Turlock residents Josh Steele-Keller, Elizabeth Stevens, Scotty Stratton, Ronnie Vasconcellos and Tyler White were walking through Donnelly Park when Stevens noticed something odd about one of the ducks near the lake.
“I saw that one had its beak wide open and Tyler went up to it and said something looked wrong,” Stevens said. “So, I went up to it with my flashlight and noticed something was very wrong when I saw a zip tie around its neck and in its mouth.
“I went up closer to it and noticed one beside it also had one around itself,” Stevens continued. “I approached it very cautiously as it was very close to the water and I was afraid it'd jump and swim away from me but it let me get close enough to grab it.”
Someone had taken zip ties and fastened them around the duck’s beak and neck, causing the beak to stay open, which would prevent the duck from drinking and eating.
Working together the group was able to catch the two ducks and free them from the zip ties.
“Once we set them loose they couldn't help but to swim around happily,” Stevens recalled.
For their actions, PETA is presenting them with the Compassionate Action Award and some vegan cookies.
"This group of friends acted quickly and compassionately to help these birds, who were in desperate need of assistance," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "PETA urges anyone with information to come forward immediately so that whoever is abusing ducks in Donnelly Park can be held responsible and stopped from hurting anyone else."
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Turlock Police Department at 668-5550.