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Michigan Boy’s Therapy Ducks Causing Problems Within Community

The U.S. fencing market is actually projected to reach $11.5 billion by 2024. Unfortunately, there are all sorts of property disputes that occur across the country — with or without fences. Not too many of these property disputes, however, involve ducks.

According to The Washington Post, Dylan Dyke, a 12-year-old Michigan boy with autism, says that his two ducks, Nibbles and Bill, are his best friends.

“These ducks are his everything,” said Jen Dyke, Dylan’s mother. “They’re his whole life.”

That’s why Dylan’s parents said it was so upsetting earlier this summer when their neighbors began to complain about the ducks, which are there to offer emotional support for Dylan. Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder are typically recognized by age two, and many parents often introduce therapy animals to help their children cope with some of their difficulties.

“[The ducks] provide the opportunity for him to calm down,” said Eric Dykstra, Dylan’s psychologist. “They provide the opportunity for him to practice emotional regulation. For Dylan these ducks are extremely helpful.”

After numerous complaints from the neighborhood, officials in the township, near Grand Rapids, ordered the Dykes to remove the ducks, stating that they violated an ordinance against keeping farm animals in the neighborhood.

“They say they’re not aggressive,” said Brandon Phillips, who complained to the town. “I’ve seen firsthand that they are aggressive to adults and kids and there are people here who would testify to that. It’s not the [Dyke family’s] fault that they’re aggressive; they’re just being ducks.”

Jay Shaap, who lives next to the Dyke family, also voiced some concerns over the ducks coming onto his family’s property.

“I want to be clear they’re all terrific neighbors, they’re not mean people, and nobody has ill will towards Dylan,” he said. “We just don’t want the ducks in our yard, along with the problems they create. It’s that simple.”

According to Fox, Dylan and his family will likely be able to keep the ducks — at least for now. On Facebook, Dylan’s Duck Adventures posted the following:

It looks like Dylan will get to keep his ducks! The board postponed the final decision to the next meeting to work out details of how they will be kept, the pen, etc. but before postponing they did say they all agreed on Dylan keeping the ducks. The next meeting is in a month and there is a lot of work to do, but we remain confident that we can come to an agreement!

It wasn’t all complaints, either. There have been people from all over the community and the Internet that have gone out of their way to have Dylan’s back — they are even purchasing bright yellow shirts that say: “Save Dylan’s Ducks” on the front, right above a duck’s head.

As for Dylan, he says that Nibbles and Bill just get him.

“I can tell them anything and they just won’t be bothered by it,” said Dylan. “These ducks understand me so much. My siblings do as well, but these ducks just trust me more.”

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