Published On: Thu, Oct 30th, 2014

Ohio Vet, Darin Welker, found guilty and fined for keeping ducks to cope with PTSD

A veteran Ohio who was cited for keeping ducks within city limits to cope with PTSD was found guilty Wednesday.

Credits:   United States Government photo

Credits: United States Government photo

Darin Welker, 36, was fined $50 for violating the county’s ordinance by keeping 14 ducks in his backyard. Welker said the ducks help him cope with post traumatic stress disorder and depression he developed after serving a year in Iraq with the Army National Guard in 2005.

Prosecuting Attorney James Skelton made the argument in court that the case was cut and dry: the ordinance, states that no farm animals, including ducks, may be kept within village limits and no federal law exists that trumps it.

“The ordinance says there are no ducks, then there are no ducks,” Skelton told Judge France. “Your hands are tied.”

Welker was cited for the minor misdemeanor in June. Since then, the case has developed into a battle between local government officials trying to maintain the letter of the law and an Army veteran trying to heal from mental and physical wounds.

After Welker pleaded not guilty to the charge, his attorney, Bob Weir, filed an affirmative defense, meaning that the facts concerning Welker’s situation should be enough to excuse what is otherwise illegal conduct.

Testifying on Wednesday, Welker’s wife, Shirley Wagner, argued that since the ducks are registered with a national service registry as emotional support animals, and since no neighbors have personally complained to them, they should be permitted.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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