Cypress neighbors disturbed after HOA hires gunmen to capture unwanted ducks in Coles Crossing

Miya Shay Image
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Cypress neighbors at odds with HOA's choice to shoot invasive ducks
A Cypress neighbor was stunned to find men holding air rifles. It turns out that the men were hired by the HOA to get rid of nuisance water fowl.

CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- A pond full of ducks is causing many ruffled feathers in Coles Crossing, an upscale Cypress neighborhood now fighting an unexpected fowl battle.

The pond at the center of the Coles Crossing subdivision is, on a typical day, a tranquil amenity for dog walking, fishing, and catching up with neighbors. But last Tuesday, at about 9 p.m., one neighbor walked out her door and saw two men with long air rifles walking around the pond.

"What are you guys doing?" someone can be heard saying on a video shared with ABC13.

Then, the men in the video confirm the homeowners' association hired them to kill invasive ducks.

"So, air rifles? Can I see them?" The woman is heard asking. The men then show the air rifles but state they have not managed to shoot any ducks yet.

Richele Bartkowiak, a long-time homeowner in the subdivision, was shocked when she watched the video.

"Nobody in the neighborhood was notified, so none of the residents knew," Bartkowski said. "So, it was a really scary sight. It was a time when people were still easily out walking their dogs or taking a stroll in the night."

Bartkowiak posted the video and wrote about the ducks on NextDoor and other social media sites. It quickly gained hundreds of comments. She said the more significant issue is that nobody at the HOA board had contacted homeowners warning them of air rifles.

"I think what the community was most upset about is the fact this was ever an option on the table," Bartkowski said. "When we returned in February, they caught and relocated the ducks. Why now are we just slaughtering these ducks?"

Another homeowner, Steven Robinson, said he knows muscovy ducks are considered invasive in this part of Texas but said shooting them is a little drastic.

"I can see both sides," Robinson said. "You spend a lot of money making your flower beds look nice and the ducks destroy it. So I totally get wanting to remove them. But I don't think you need to show up with a pellet gun at night and shoot them."

Some homeowners who did not want to talk on the record told ABC13 that the ducks had ruined their roofs, messed up their gardens, and were reproducing so quickly that they were problematic.

Robinson, an avid hunter, said he sympathizes. However, he's also worried that other species of non-invasive ducks and migratory fowl may have been killed in the zeal to get rid of the ducks. That could have legal implications.

"I did call the game warden and reported it, so I'm waiting to hear back from them," said Robinson. "The initial report was there were guys out here with air rifles shooting ducks. And I didn't know what species it was, and I thought it was the right thing to do: have the game warden come out and do an investigation."

Robinson and others said that in February, the pest control company tried other methods, including capturing the ducks with nets, which proved difficult. A video shared with ABC13 shows some ducks managing to duck nets hurled their way.

Bartkowiak said her calls to the HOA have not been answered. She wishes someone would have warned everyone about the use of air rifles.

"I think the neighborhood is a little concerned that this manner of thinning out the population of ducks was ever on the table for our board to debate," Bartkowiak said.

ABC13 has contacted the HOA and the pest control company, and we're awaiting a response.

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