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Residents complain of ducks dying in Desert Shores community

Residents complain of ducks dying in Desert Shores community

By Darcy Spears. CREATED Apr 16, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The ducks of Desert Shores are making waves again.

Viewers first asked about them in the fall of 2010 and Contact 13 investigated.

Now, residents say more needs to be done because ducks are dying in the streets and the home owners association is doing nothing to stop it.

The famous children's book "Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey, set in Boston, tells a much more idyllic story than the one playing out in Desert Shores.

The ducks on the book pages have a policeman stopping traffic for them to cross the road. But their feathered friends here aren't as lucky.

"We don't have crossing guards for ducks," jokes Desert Shores HOA President Ed Leniger.

And even though there are duck crossing signs...

"The ducks are being killed, left and right," says Valerie Tobler.  She and her neighbors live off Harbor Island -- the main street in Desert Shores.

She shared pictures with Contact 13 that show duck carcasses in and near the road.

"It's heartbreaking... heartbreaking to see this happening."

Contact 13 saw several close calls on another street in the community.

So why do the ducks cross the road?  Residents say it's literally to get to the other side where there's a lot more shrubbery and foliage for the ducks to nest in. 

They say there just isn't enough of that over on the lakeside.

"There used to be bushes there where the ducks would build their nests and be comfortable," says homeowner Jackie Pucci.

But neighbors say their HOA took the bushes out, leaving the ducks with few options.

"I don't think a bunch of it has been removed.  I think that there have been some changes," concedes Lenigar.  "But I also think that you're simply not going to -- no matter how much foliage you put in or whatever else -- the ducks are gonna go around, they're gonna go across streets... whatever, they're wild animals."

But as Contact 13 found, they're not wild enough.

Part of the problem is how tame the ducks have become.  Within seconds of pulling up, we were surrounded by ducks who have no problem getting up close and personal, looking for food.

"When they see a person open the door or whatever, that person is a source of food so they go running across the street and squish!  They're dead," says homeowner Tom Incorvaia.

Tom is less emotional than his neighbors though they all agree the HOA isn't doing enough.

"They don't want to get involved with any of the duck dilemma," Jackie says.

"This is just one issue that for some reason they're skirting it," Tom adds.

Leniger disputes that.

"I'm not turning a deaf ear to it.  I don't like to see a duck dead in the street.  I don't like to see a duck hurt.  The only way we could keep these ducks out of the street completely would be somehow to fence everything.  If we fence everything then we're really fencing out the community."

Homeowners Contact 13 spoke to want bushes back on the berms around the lake. They also want floating islands in the water and and a stop sign in the street at Harbor Island and Middlebrook.

"What kind of response have you gotten from the HOA when you've made these suggestions?" Contact 13 investigator Darcy Spears asked Valerie Tobler.

"They don't own the ducks and they don't own the streets."

The roads in Desert Shores are city streets. But when Contact 13 put Lenigar on the spot, he promised to reach out to City Councilman Stavros Anthony about a stop sign.

As for the suggestion of floating islands...

"Do I promise we're going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or multiple thousands of dollars putting islands in?  No, I don't promise that."

Ed says the HOA board has to consider what impact the ducks should have on homeowners' wallets.

Despite his promises, neighbors believe the HOA will continue ducking the issue.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife says master-planned communities like Desert Shores create "habitats on steroids"... attracting animals that otherwise would not be there.

So the state says it falls on the HOA to manage the environment they've created.


Darcy Spears

Darcy Spears

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Darcy Spears is currently the Chief Investigative Reporter for Action News.