IE duck sanctuary forced to again relocate after running afoul of complaining neighbor

Leticia Juarez Image
Thursday, April 4, 2024
IE duck sanctuary forced to relocate after running afoul of neighbors
A duck sanctuary in Riverside County has run afoul of complaining neighbors, forcing the facility to again relocate.

WILDOMAR, Calif. (KABC) -- A duck sanctuary in Riverside County has run afoul of a complaining neighbor, forcing the facility to again relocate.

"This is the fourth place I've been this year," said Howard Berkowitz, who operates the sanctuary in Wildomar, taking in abandoned and sick ducks, geese and chickens.

"We take in ducks that have been dumped at parks and lakes, or we take in ducks that people buy as presents and then can no longer take care of them. Then they find me," said Berkowitz.

Once again, he's on the move after he decided to spare the property owner the headache of a legal fight with the complaining neighbor.

So he is packing up his flock with help from volunteers and relocating to another temporary place.

But he is hoping the community will help him reach a permanent solution.

April 1, 2023: Lake Elsinore duck sanctuary prepares to take in abandoned Easter ducklings

It turns out a lot of people buy ducklings during Easter not knowing they can be more than one can handle once they get older, so a man is working to save those ducks before it's too late.

"I found a 20-acre parcel in Aguanga. It's going to be probably $250,000, and so that is what I am looking to raise right now," he said.

The property is not surrounded by neighbors and would allow Berkowitz the ability to build a pond for the ducks. For now, he and volunteers fill kiddie pools with fresh water daily for the ducks to bathe and swim in.

"No matter what's going wrong in my life, when I get to the sanctuary everything is forgotten and I am just taking care of these ducks," he said.

Donations to the nonprofit help to feed and care for the nearly 500 feathery animals at the sanctuary, but a majority of the money comes from Berkowitz himself.

"Feeding alone we spend about $4,000 a month just on the feed. We have close to 500 ducks right now," he said. "So, we go through 250 pounds of food every single day and my vet bill... I have a running tab of about $2,000."

He recently has had to turn away some people looking to place domestic ducks who don't have the skill to forage or defend themselves in the wild, but it hasn't slowed the demand on his sanctuary.

"Someone had dumped off 32 baby ducks in Home Depot boxes and just left them. No note no nothing just left 32 baby ducks there," said Berkowitz. Not even a donation to help feed the ducklings.

Despite the work load and financial cost to Berkowitz, he says he's not ready to quit.

"If I give up, there will not be anyone else to do this."

If you'd like to donate to The Duck Sanctuary, click on the link to visit the facility's website.