Local rescue speaks out against illegal dumping of domestic animals

KFOX14 Pet Pals is a new franchise dedicated to all animal related stories in the borderland.

Illegally dumping domestic animals is a major issue throughout the borderland, especially at Ascarate Lake according to Stick House Sanctuary; a local feather farm sanctuary and animal welfare organization that advocates, educates and serves as a rescue.

The sanctuary is run by Julie and Jaime Morales, who created it close to 10 years ago.

You'll hear and see different wild and domestic animals around the sanctuary, all of them under the care of the couple. Some of the animals are in rehab and waiting to be released back into the wild and others are domestic animals looking for a forever home. The sanctuary provides veterinary care, food and shelter for all of them.

The Morales tell KFOX14 that illegal dumping is a major issue they face daily and a majority of their rescues have been ducks or geese who were dumped at the lake at Ascarate Park.

"It is against the law. . A lot of these birds are federally protected. This isn't locally a state thing, it's a federal law and all of these animals deserve a chance at a good life just like anyone else on this earth," said Jaime.

He added that many purchase ducks during Easter, and once the novelty wears off and they realize the hard work it takes to raise and care for a duck which leads these pet parents to dump them at local ponds or lakes.

Jaime said it's not only illegal but cruel to do this, because these domestic ducks are family pets and cannot survive in the wild.

Over the years the couple has saved hundreds of dumped domestic animals from Ascarate. Over the last couple of months, they took in a group of three that is now four after another rescue joined the trio that was rescued from Ascarate Lake after their owner dumped them there.

"Those three ducks were literally dumped there. They went into the water and came back out looking for her and while she was driving away she almost ran them over. People saw her and it was the saddest thing. They don't know what's going on and they're just sitting there looking for their owner.

They were between a month and a half to two months old at the time," said Jaime.

Together this group of ducks in a row are looking for a new home along with Marshmallow, a duck who was dumped at a dog park in Horizon.

Domestic animals like them cannot survive in the wild and need to be cared for like any other pet that's part of the family. When dumped they cannot fend for themselves, suffer, often die and they also affect wild life in the areas they're abandoned.

"Domestic animals are very aggressive towards wild ducks and geese that land there. They're not used to seeing these animals and feel the need to protect themselves but end up getting hurt. They're also very harmful to that whole environment it does damage the whole ecosystem," said Jaime.

Other issues include people abusing these animals at the lake. Julie said they've saved some animals that were in horrific shape some who've been cut, caught in fishing lines even shot at. Other issues include people not only feeding these animals but giving them food that's bad for them.

"People think you can feed them tortillas, crackers, bread, popcorn and all of that is just garbage to them. It does damage to their metabolism, to their diet and to their development," said Jaime.

Next week I find out the why rescuing these animals has become more difficult for Stick House Sanctuary and what the El Paso County and El Paso County Sheriffs claims they're doing to help prevent illegal dumping at Ascarate Lake.

If you're interested in more information or adopting any rescue from Stick House Sanctuary, please visit their Facebook page.

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