‘It’s a Death Sentence’: Four Young Ducks Dumped at Mead Park, One Appears To Have Died

Police say one of four young domesticated ducks that someone appears to have dumped July 4 at Mead Park did not survive its first weekend there and that a New Canaan woman has agreed to let the remaining waterfowl rehabilitate on her private property. Officials learned about the abandoned ducks July 9 when one of the tennis pros at Mead reported that the birds had been walking up to park visitors as though seeking food and water, according to Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section. 

Responding to the park, Halm found the ducks to be “in some distress” and “very thirsty,” and after consulting with authorities at the nonprofit organization Wildlife in Crisis learned that a person had been seen releasing the animals at Mead the prior week. They likely were mail-order mallards or else baby ducklings that had been found by a family and raised in a home “until they didn’t like them anymore,” Halm said. “They have zero defense knowledge or flight drive, no survival skills,” Halm said. 

Though the three surviving ducks appeared to be grazing at Mead, “the problem was that they did not go into the pond—they didn’t recognize the pond as a safe haven,” she said. Yet the ducks when shown a water bowl hopped into it to swim, Halm said, indicating that they’d been domesticated in the past.

Animal Control: Bear Sightings Reported in New Canaan

Police since Monday morning have received reports of seven sightings of what officials believe to be one bear. Starting around 8 a.m. Monday, reported sightings came in from Brushy Ridge, Silvermine and Echo Hill Roads, and on Tuesday morning, St Luke’s School, Smith Ridge Road and West Road at Lost District Drive, according to Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section. Halm said that the first call she received reported a “bear cub.” 

“If I hear ‘bear cub’ then I’m concerned mom is somewhere, and that’s when it can get dangerous,” Halm told NewCanaanite.com. Bear sightings are occurring with growing frequency in New Canaan, especially in the summer but increasingly in the winter when they’re not cold enough for the animals to hibernate for the whole season. 

“During bear season – spring through summer – your garbage should be confined,” Halm said. “On garbage day, I’d put it out when you know the guy’s coming.”

New Canaan Animal Control: Secure Your Dogs During ‘Fireworks Season,’ and Don’t Put Them in Hot Cars

Local authorities are urging residents to ensure their dogs are secure during the Fourth of July fireworks and afterwards, and to also avoid keeping their pets in the car or walking them on hot pavement during the summer. Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section, said authorities “can’t emphasize enough to keep your dog at home and in a secure room for the fireworks season, especially if you know your dog is weary of the noises.”

“They will bolt and they will run and we have lost dogs permanently in the past,” Halm said. “I know dogs that have jumped out of second-floor windows.”

The “season” could last for about two weeks as private homeowners set off their own fireworks, though the “intense nights” where they’re popping off for 20 minutes or more continuously can be most stressful on dogs, she said. In addition, Halm urged dog owners to leave their dogs at home while running errands rather than having the animals in a hot car. “In my opinion, unless you have someone in the car that can wait with the dog, you should not bring your dog,” Halm said.