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Iraq veteran cited by Ohio town for having therapy ducks he uses to help with PTSD

Darin Welker's ducks violate a West Lafayette village ordinance.
By Evan Bleier   |   July 21, 2014 at 11:37 AM   |   Comments

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WEST LAFAYETTE , Ohio, July 21 (UPI) -- A veteran of the Iraq war is battling an Ohio town over the therapy ducks that he uses to help treat his post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to a village ordinance in West Lafayette, Darin Welker is violating the rules by keeping the 14 ducks. He was cited with a minor misdemeanor for keeping the ducks and will be appearing in Coshocton Municipal Court to explain why he has them.

"[No] chickens, turkeys, ducks, live poultry or fowl of any kind, horses, ponies, cows, calves, goats, sheep, or live animals of any kind except dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds or mice shall be kept in the Village," the ordinance says.

Welker, who was wounded in Iraq in 2005, has a letter from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs recommending that he keep the animals.

"I came back [from Iraq] with a major back injury, and between the back injury and the [post-traumatic stress disorder] that I also brought home, there were numerous problems," Welker said, USA Today reported.

The maximum fine Welker is facing for keeping the animals is $150. He has had the ducks since March and says that watching them "keeps you entertained for hours at a time."

West Lafayette adopted the farm animal law in 2010.

"Taking care of them is both mental and physical therapy," Welker said.

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