Family Fights Pet Ordinance To Keep Their Ducks


The Lanum family of Barnesville, Minnesota is trying to save their pet Pekin ducks, Winnie and Babbles. They found the duck eggs more than a year and a half ago and have raised them ever since.

Now, the Lanums have been told by city officials that they have 30 days to get rid of the ducks because they violated a city ordinance. The city of Barnesville classifies only dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters and caged birds as permissible household pets in town. All other animals are prohibited.

The family contacted city officials about the possibility of changing the law. The city officials voted 5-to-1 against changing the current ordinance at its June meeting.

The mayor of Barnesville says that the city has concerns of what may occur in the future if they did permit the Lanums to keep their ducks. The city council is afraid that there would be a floodgate of different animals that they city would have to deal with.

From The Forum: (registration required)

The Lanums are not giving up the fight to keep their pets. They also are worried that their ducks would not survive on a farm if they had to give them up.

To help keep the ducks, the Lanums have started a campaign featuring signs with slogans, “Think twice: Barnesville bans most pets,” and the Web site asking for residents to sign a petition.

While Bauer [the mayor] said the city council is going to stand by its decision, the possibility of changing the ordinance is still possible if there is overwhelming public support, something he currently doesn’t see.

In an unpublished letter to the editor sent to The Forum, Lanum’s passion was evident by the words he wrote.

“I love my animals like my own kids, and they’ll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands before I give them up,” Lanum wrote in the letter.

“That’s basically saying that I’m not going to give them up,” Lanum said.

13 Responses to “Family Fights Pet Ordinance To Keep Their Ducks”

  1. Lynne says:

    Well, mayor, here’s an idea. Why don’t you deal with the “flood” one species at a time instead of retreating with this knee-jerk reaction.

  2. Merlin says:

    The law allows “caged birds”. Why don’t they build a great big pen for the ducks so they will be “caged birds”?

  3. Jan says:

    Great suggestions above. And, I totally agree with Lynne. This mayor’s fear-based overreaction has no substance whatsoever. Good luck to those wonderful and compassionate pet parents.

  4. e wem says:

    Aren’t people cold hearted? Guaranteed there is a neighbor who wants the ducks gone.

    What is the difference between two ducks in a pen, and two dogs? Two big dogs produce more compost.

    We had two rescued Easter chicks when I was a kid, until one turned out to be a male and started crowing. A guy working nights turned us in.

    My dream house is a place where I can keep a rooster without having police show up at my door. I think it goes back to my regret as a kid having to lose that hornery little rooster.

  5. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    They should just put a fence around their property, and argue that is a cage. That, and a good lawyer, could keep Barnesville’s mayor and council tied up in court until Winnie and Babbles are in their forties.

    Then at the next election, one of the Lanum’s (or one of their friends) should run for mayor. “Save the Pekin Two” sounds like a nice slogan.

    A little publicity, mixed with a lot of ridicule, and soon the Barnesville city council will find some exception that lets the ducks stay.

  6. Sky Eyes Woman says:

    The law there only allows cats, dogs, gerbils, hamsters and caged birds only? So I couldn’t keep fish there? No frogs, snakes or lizards either? No guinea pigs or bunnies? What about turtles?

    If none of the neighbors have any complaints about the ducks they should be allowed to keep them. It sounds to me like the law there is overly harsh and should be changed.

  7. vida says:

    This is outrageous! I agree, fence the yard, call it a cage and expose this idiotic law to a much of the public as possible. Satire could work wonders with this kind of thing, good luck to the ducks!

  8. mittens says:

    our geese, pets, were wonderful pets and we never had to mow the lawn which i enjoyed in particular being the designated yard work biatch ( remember when children did work around the home.? heaven for fend junior should be pried away from the computer or xbox now). they had a pen although they never left the yard. and they were an instant alert if anyone was trespassing- they didn’t miss a noise in the yard at night- great guard animals.

    more out of control bad big government at work. isn’t government good when it decides it has the power to tell you what you may or may not have as a pet? no one needs this crap- these people are control freaks who should mind their own. there’s one thing if someone has a genuine hazard in the yard or a creature( like say an elephant or lion in the suburbs or city) that is deemed dangerous to neighbors or exceedingly detrimental to the neighborhood peace of the majority not one disgruntled annoying prig.these are ducks not hippos. a largeish cage/pen is quite easy to build. our geese went to theirs every night on their own, having wandered the lower 40 ‘ mowing’.

    what a horrible thing to teach children too- official lack of compassion and no encouragement of the humane treatment of animals who generally contribute to our lives in positive ways.

    and so i see the prevelence of the “if gays can legally marry some guy will want to marry his penguin or toaster’ motif of creating laws and governace. the founding fathers are rolling over in their graves. in fact i bet many of them HAD ducks. mental midgets- proving once again that those who cannot run their own lives nor reason their way out an open exit opt to run other people’s lives as politicians.

  9. 2CatMom says:

    Well, you know, first it’ll be ducks, then snakes, then mountain lions, then gorillas, then elephants. Oh the humanity, where will it end, LOL!

    Here’s a good slogan for a protest: Don’t let them make Peking ducks out of our pekin ducks!

  10. Eric & Jeana Lanum says:

    We happened to come across this site when we were doing a search. We would like to thank all of you for your support. In this past week we have been on 2 tv news reports, 3 newspapers, and 2 radio talk shows yet we are still fighting this issue as the council will not budge. The mayor actually stated to us today that they will not be pressured into changing their minds. Guess this goes to show that the people who are elected into office by the people do not represent the people. Please keep our family in your prays and try to keep our story out there.

    Eric & Jeana

    Please keep us updated on your story. We would love to know what happens to Winnie and Babbles.

  11. Eric & Jeana Lanum says:

    Well, it has gotten nasty. No matter what, we will not be getting rid of our babies. No one is going to be able to make us do that. Most people would not understand but our girls are like our children. We love them dearly and they love us dearly. We will not be separated. We have spoken with an attorney who has no doubt that that the ordinance will get change, once he comes on board. The problem is that he costs money. Money we do not have. We have already spent over $1800 for this campaign. Not to mention the amount of time that my husband had to take off of work. That in it self adds up to yet another $1000. So now were at a point where we know what we have to do but really do not want to. We have never asked for anything in our life but right now we feel as though we don’t have any other options available to us. So here goes, we are asking all of our supporters if there is ANYWAY that any of you can donate to our legal fund. ANY amount would be greatly appreciated. It all adds up. After the campaign and missed time from work we have nothing left to give to the attorney. If you can find it in your hearts to make a donation we want you to know that we have already pledged any amount over then what is needed to Adopt-A-Pet. Thank you for all of you encouraging support but we feel as though we have no other way except to ask. If you would like to make a donation just go to our website located at:
    And click on the “What U Can Do” button. Thanks again for all of your help.

    Always Reach 4 You Dreams,
    Eric & Jeana Lanum

  12. enough is enough says:

    Lanum’s it seems that all you do is copy and paste your response to every site….. can you think of something else to say? Your right it has gotten nasty and personally people in town are sick of it. This is wasting time and money on more important things. A law is a law. You would think that you would want to teach your children to follow the rules and laws that are in place.

  13. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    ‘enough is enough’ — we’d be more impressed if you’d supplied some way to contact you. As it is, you look more like a troll piling on to the family than someone actually interested in the case.

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