BURLINGTON — A teenage girl with four pet ducks is separating from her beloved companions because her family is moving to Burlington, where such farm animals are prohibited.
Miranda Umnus, 15, whose family lives in the neighboring Town of Burlington, had requested a permit from the city with a handwritten note asking if she could keep her favorite pets.
“I’ve raised these ducks from babies,” she wrote. “They follow me around everywhere.”
Miranda’s family is moving into a new house on Garfield Street because their landlord in the town decided to sell that property, located near Bohners Lake south of the city.
A city ordinance prohibits people from keeping farm animals on non-agricultural land unless a special permit is issued for cows, horses, chickens, ducks or other livestock.
The most recent permit was approved in 2011 for someone who wanted to have rabbits.
The Burlington City Council was scheduled this week to consider Miranda’s request for her four ducks.
But then her mother, Shantel Umnus, notified the city that Miranda had decided to give the ducks to a friend. The mother wrote that she and her family “don’t want to upset our new neighbors.”
Miranda’s friend lives on a farm, her mother wrote, and Miranda can visit the ducks whenever she wants.
“We had a long talk,” Umnus added. “After much back and forth, she has agreed to let them go.”
Shantel Umnus and her husband, Jimmie Umnus, both declined to comment.
Burlington and other communities in recent years have been under pressure from rural-minded residents to loosen restrictions on farm animals, particularly chickens.
But such efforts have had mixed results, as other residents worry about the noise and mess that could come from permitting livestock in an urban setting.
In her request to Burlington city officials, Miranda wrote that she was active in FFA and that she intended to enter her ducks in FFA competitions.
She also offered assurances that the ducks would be quieter than many dogs. And with a fenced-in yard at the family’s new home on Garfield Street, she promised, the ducks would present no problems.
“If you’re worried they will bother neighbors, please don’t worry, because they won’t,” she wrote. “If you allow me to keep my ducks, I will be forever happy.”
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