MURRAY, Utah (ABC4) – Hundreds of ducks are dumped in parks, ponds, and lakes across the Wasatch front each spring, according to animal advocates.

“It’s actually against Utah cruelty code to release domestic ducks into wild parks or ponds. It’s against Utah code and is considered animal abandonment,” said Tiffany Young, the founder of Ducks and Clucks.

Amy Needham, the founder of Puddle Ducks Rescue, said releasing domestic ducks in the wild can hurt native species.

“They reproduce with wild species of birds, and it reduces the wild birds’ capability to fend for themselves, it reduces their camouflage, it reduces their wild instincts and it’s been a big problem around the world,” Needham explains.

Domestic ducks are bred to be bigger than wild ducks.  This means domestic ducks cannot fly to leave the pond once they are abandoned there. The overpopulation of ducks in ponds contributes to water quality issues.

“With too many people feeding bread and other low nutritious snacks and putting it into the water during our hot summers where algae and botulism are already a problem, the water quality becomes unsustainable for life, both for wild species and any of the dumped domestics,” said Young.

Needham says it’s also cruel to the ducks themselves. She wants people to think twice before buying ducks at stores and releasing them into the wild.

“Anytime you release a domestic animal, it’s a death sentence, it’s just a matter of time until they pass away, and they belong with people,” said Needham.

“A lot of people think they’re doing a good thing when releasing a duck in the wild, but what they’re doing is like releasing a kitten in the forest and saying good luck tiger,” said Young.