Just before sundown Friday, a single domesticated duck with clipped wings rested beneath the brush at Hummel’s Pond on Soundview Avenue in Southold. Already bloody from a wound to its stomach, the large white duck could not be found Saturday morning, as temperatures dropped below freezing and snow began to fall and, nearby residents said, is believed to be the victim of a wild animal attack.
The duck was the last of seven that were dropped off near the pond more than a month ago, according to neighbors, who have been trying ever since to rescue the birds and find the person responsible for abandoning them.
“These animals were defenseless,” said Soundview Avenue resident Barbara Des Rault. “They were clearly meant to be on a farm. They had no way of knowing how to protect themselves and hunt.”
Since the ducks first appeared, Lighthouse Road resident Harry Katz and his wife, Anna, have also been trying to capture the ducks and move them to a safe location.
Residents had sought help from local shelter groups, but no action was ever taken.
The incident was never reported to the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, according to SPCA chief Roy Gross, who said it could be considered a case of animal abuse and cruelty. If the perpetrator were to be caught and convicted, he or she could be sentenced to a year in prison and subject to a $1,000 fine for each duck killed, Mr. Gross said.
Neighbors say the only remaining sign of the ducks’ existence are white feathers scattered around the pond. They are calling the person responsible “misguided.”
“If the people who are responsible for releasing domestic ducks that had recently taken up residence in Hummel’s Pond in Southold are reading this, they should forever live with the fact that they are, indeed, responsible for the death of the ducks — one-by-one — by raccoons,” Mr. Katz stated in a letter in this week’s newspaper. “What callous indifference to the suffering of harmless animals that were obviously once pets.”