A retired couple in Cypress, Texas, could lose their home for feeding ducks.
On June 11, homeowners George and Kathleen Rowe were hit with a $250,000 lawsuit after neighbors complained that ducks were destroying their gardens and defecating on their property, the Houston Chronicle reported.
A lawsuit filed by the Lakeland Community Homeowners Association claims the Lowes broke community rules and engaged in activities that cause “unclean, unhealthy, or untidy” conditions, that could cause “nuisance” in common areas and that could “disturb or destroy vegetation, wildlife, wetlands, or air quality.”
The HOA is seeking a judicial order requiring the Rowes to cease feeding the ducks.
“Defendants are violating…provisions by continually and habitually feeding wildlife in the Community and within the Common Area,” the lawsuit reads. “Specifically, Defendant, Kathleen A. Rowe, repeatedly feeds ducks on the common area despite being informed that such activity is prohibited — and despite agreeing to cease such activity.”
If the couple loses the suit, they must pay up to $250,000 in fees. If they can’t pay the fees, the lawsuit says the HOA will try to foreclose on their home.
In a response to the HOA’s petition, the couple deny the HOA’s allegations that their activity caused such damage to the neighborhood.
Richard Weaver, an attorney representing Kathleen Rowe, told Insider this was the “silliest lawsuit” he had ever seen, and said that feeding ducks did not create a disturbance in the neighborhood.
He also said that the Rowes plan to sell their home and move.
“It is sad to see Lakeland Village Community Association waste its money by paying lawyers to pick on Ms. Rowe,” Weaver said.
Kathleen Rowe told the Chronicle she and her husband moved into the neighborhood and watched the birds from their porch. She felt bad for the domesticated waterfowl, who she imagined grew in an incubator and did not know how to survive in the wild on their own.
“They’ve never had a mother,” Kathleen Rowe told the Chronicle. “I feel like I’m just stepping in.”
Weaver told Insider that Kathleen Rowe had found comfort in feeding the ducks after her daughter died 10 years ago.
“The HOA told me ‘the ducks don’t belong here. If they die, that’s ok.'” Kathleen Rowe said in a statement to Insider. “Well, I can’t live with that.”
Attorneys for Lakeland Community Homeowners Association did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Leave a Reply