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Community Rallies To Save Family’s Pet Ducks

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Tracey Leong joined WJZ Eyewitness News in July 2014 as a general...
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HARFORD COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — A Harford County family is fighting to keep their pet ducks but a pre-existing law makes it illegal.

Tracey Leong has the story.

The goal to save the ducks has become a community issue. Their neighbors, local farms and even schools are coming together to try and keep the ducks on the family’s property.

Harford County’s zoning code requires a minimum of two acres for livestock. Since the Nowakowski family has only 1.98 acres, they’re in violation—but the family doesn’t consider the ducks livestock. They see them as pets.

“Our children have become very attached to these guys, as we have,” said Wendy Nowakowski. “As you can see, Zoe is very, very affectionate.”

To give you an idea of how much extra space is needed, it’s less than the width of a driveway and the length of a lawn to keep their ducks.

“There is a waiver process and it’s called a variance and so basically he can apply,” said Sherri Johnson.

The family is afraid they would get turned down if they applied for an appeal. Instead, they’ve started a petition to change the law, gathering more than 2,500 signatures.

“I don’t know what we would do without them. The kids would be crushed; I know I would be crushed; my husband would be crushed,” said Nowakowski.

Zoning violations could come with a monthly fine but the county says they’ll try their best to work cooperatively to find a solution.

“Our staff with the Department of Planning and Zoning, they have met with him and they said they had good conversations with him so we hope we could work this out,” said Johnson.

A resolution the Nowakowskis say everyone is hoping for.

“They have become literally known as the neighborhood beautification committee. Literally people will come out to the lake and see them,” Nowakowski said.

If you are interested in learning more about the effort to save the ducks or signing the petition, click here.

The family is hoping to gather 10,000 signatures. They want the county to change the law to allow livestock on just one acre.

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