Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Iraq veteran fights to keep therapy ducks

Veteran Fights To Keep Therapy Ducks

They're not your average therapy animal, but Iraq War veteran, Darin Welker, says his pet ducks have been critical in helping him recover from an injury and cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder. "One of the biggest [ways the ducks helped] was to get me some basic physical therapy and out of a chair," Welker explains. "[They] got me motivated to do something."

The Coshocton Tribune spoke with Welker, a West Lafayette, Ohio, man who says he was injured in Iraq in 2005 and got his 14 ducks in March. The problem is, he's violating a city ordinance against farm animals at residences.

According to Welker, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs paid for him to have back surgery in 2012 but didn't approve physical nor mental therapy.

Welker's story's been picked up by major outlets like USA Today and Time -- likely more unwelcome news for the VA, which has, of course, been embroiled in scandal for months, according to The New York Times. Welker does say he has a letter from the VA's mental health department recommending he keep the ducks.

And therapy ducks aren't unheard of. In general, animals are often used therapeutically, the American Humane Association says in particular for neglected children, patients undergoing especially difficult medical treatments and veterans.

Welker has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and faces a $150 fine.

More on AOL:
Starbucks employee faces firing over tattoo
Son surprises mom with University graduation
Family fights to keep pet pig in Lake Worth, Florida
'Redneck Run' stampedes for 'Jamboree in the Hills'

Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
aaldrew July 22 2014 at 8:25 AM

I say he keeps his ducks.

Flag Reply +34 rate up
4 replies
Bluedane July 22 2014 at 8:01 AM

Shameful to treat a veteran like that! He should be able to keep his ducks, it's the least we an do for all their sacrifices!

Flag Reply +33 rate up
7 replies
dlrllynn July 22 2014 at 7:32 AM

Change the ordinance...how ridiculous....this guy served for our country....if ducks are his therapy, why should he be denied his own rights??? They aren't hurting anybody (except maybe a few egos)...they need to focus on things that are truly important for the safety of the community and not one person and his unique way of therapy.

Flag Reply +30 rate up
5 replies
Rev Josey Wales July 22 2014 at 8:42 AM

As a VN vet, all I can say is that what ever he needs he should get. You don't know until you've been there

Flag Reply +24 rate up
2 replies
cherylcherwood Rev Josey Wales July 22 2014 at 9:13 AM

I agree with you 100%!!! We live in a sick world these days with so much violence and for people to complain about something like this veterans ducks is nuts. They should be more concerned about the real crimes going on in cities. I say leave him alone and let him live in peace. If there is an ordinace against his pet ducks, then make an exception. Not everything is written in stone. I feel terrible for this veteran, if this is his way of copeing then leave him alone.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Wendy cherylcherwood July 22 2014 at 12:21 PM

The crappy part of this is that it's a recent city odrinance, not something from 50 years ago!

Flag +1 rate up
Carol Rev Josey Wales July 22 2014 at 11:46 PM

Rev - I hope your needs are being met too.I had mixed feelings about the story, but you cleared things up. Let him keep the ducks. Maybe he could have them "prescribed" by his Doctor...

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jem July 22 2014 at 7:45 AM

Oh! for Pete sakes! This man and his ducks are'nt hurting anyone. Let him have them if its helping him. Those people owe him for his service. Period.

Flag Reply +21 rate up
5 replies
Meh... July 22 2014 at 9:45 AM

WOW. Guy goes and fights for the FREEDOM of all Americans........

Returns from sacrificing his real life, from putting it on hold.........

He is thanked for his service by people trying to take away his most helpful and useful therapy tools?

I guess he is supposed to go to the VA for help?...... and wait for over a year to give him the written note that says he can have the therapy animals?

In my opinion, any soldier who has been deployed, should have a free pass on having service animals. If they think they need it, that should be enough.

Give this guy his service animal pass!

Flag Reply +20 rate up
2 replies
jaysearches Meh... July 22 2014 at 6:30 PM

how do you know that vets "fought" for America and weren't just a supply clerk at Ft Sill or KP clerlk for three yerrs during their enlistment??

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
Carol jaysearches July 23 2014 at 12:13 AM

jaysearches - The guy SERVED. Period

Flag 0 rate up
hmadden Meh... July 23 2014 at 2:08 AM

Whether he was a clerk or a combat soldier, he put his body and life on the line when he volunteered. Give him his ducks.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
liondog96 July 22 2014 at 6:34 AM

They are therapy. I feed the ducks outside my place along with my 11 cats and 170 pound Ridgeback. It costs me a fortune, but I'm disabled and I have severe mental problems. I'm bi-polar along with Harrington rods and a clamp in my spine. Animals help a lot.

Flag Reply +20 rate up
3 replies
lorraine3737 July 22 2014 at 7:34 AM

Ducks - there's a neighborhood threat! Give me a break.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
2 replies
aaldrew lorraine3737 July 22 2014 at 8:31 AM

LOL Yeah.. I'm always hearing about people being mauled by ducks. Dangerous critters ducks are. I agree friend.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
flyingfortresb17 lorraine3737 July 22 2014 at 12:07 PM

Right"?////// BS. The only threat to the neighborhood would be the noise. As long as they are confined to the property they are no threat.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
jktkw July 22 2014 at 5:58 AM

much rather have ducks that a pitbull

Flag Reply +11 rate up
5 replies
aristocat101 July 22 2014 at 8:47 AM

He should be able to keep his ducks, why not? I will donate to help him out.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
aol~~ 1209600


More From Our Partners