Boy with autism is fighting to keep his 'awesome' support ducks
Published Thursday, August 9, 2018 8:38AM EDT
A 12-year-old boy is fighting his neighbours and his local government in a bid to keep his two support ducks.
Dylan Dyke lives in Georgetown Township, Mich. He has autism, and says his pet ducks Nibbles and Bill help him by providing emotional support and companionship.
“I can tell them anything,” he said Thursday while holding Bill during an interview with CTV’s Your Morning.
“I can pet them to calm me down after a hard day at school. They’re just awesome.”
While Dyke and his parents see benefits to having the ducks around, it seems some of their neighbours disagree.
Dyke’s father, Mark Dyke, says Georgetown Township has told the family that they must get rid of the ducks because the zoning of their property does not allow for pet ducks.
According to Mark Dyke, the zoning crackdown came as a result of complaints from neighbours. While various reasons were given, he says the initial complaints focused on property values being lowered due to the presence of Nibbles and Bill – even though the Dykes’ home backs onto a lake.
“There are many ducks and things – geese, swans – out on this lake, so we’re not sure why property values were the initial complaint,” Mark Dyke said.
Mark Dyke says his family has hired lawyers and is prepared to fight back against the efforts to remove the ducks from the property. He believes U.S. laws allow service animals, including ducks.
“They need to be able to make a reasonable accommodation for Dylan. We feel that the setup that we have is very reasonable,” he said.
“We will take this as far as we need to.”
An online fundraising campaign to help the Dykes and their ducks has raised more than $5,000, which Dylan Dyke says exceeded his expectations.
“I am very surprised, and I am very thankful to all the people that did support us on this,” he said.
The issue is expected to come to a head at a public meeting in Georgetown Township later this month.