A judge in Brunswick County has dismissed animal cruelty charges against a woman accused of hoarding ducks, because the state’s expert veterinarians were no-shows in court.
But Cynthia Huber’s not in the clear yet — the local sheriff’s office has vowed to refile the charges, according to a report from the Wilmington StarNews.
Huber was allegedly sharing her home with more than 150 Muscovy ducks, some of which were “underweight and many were suffering from a variety of ailments, including upper respiratory infections, untreated tumors and broken bones,” the StarNews reported.
Huber also reportedly had 11 to 14 cats and some geese. And the pond on her property contained so much animal waste that the health department had to be called.
She’d been charged with nine counts of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.
Realizing that the veterinarians weren’t going to be available for Huber’s trial, prosecutors had asked for a continuance. But District Court Judge Melinda Crouch denied the motion and dismissed the case.
The move probably ruffled some feathers at Skywatch Bird Rescue, a nonprofit group that has been caring for Huber’s confiscated birds. A representative of Skywatch, which is dependent on volunteers and donations, wrote on a change.org petition page that Huber had kept the animals “confined in horrendously filthy conditions.”
The group started the petition after hearing that the local district attorney, Ben David, was considering dropping the charges against Huber.
Skywatch was seeking 2,500 signatures on its petition to demand that David prosecute Huber and also to highlight the “ridiculous flimsiness of our animal cruelty laws.”
More than 1,900 people had signed the petition as of April 26.
We’ll stay tuned to see how all this plays out. But if it looks like malnourished ducks, swims like ducks in a squalid pond of feces, and quacks like ducks with respiratory infections, it just might be animal cruelty.