WEBER COUNTY, Utah -- A group of ducks were found shot dead in a Weber County park Tuesday. Residents are furious over who would do such a thing, while the state is trying to find those responsible and the local humane society is offering a $3,000 reward to help.
"I don't want to find something dead if I come to the park to relax," said Lisa Petersen.
Petersen strolls around Slaterville Park two or three times a week. She was appalled to hear that nine federally protected ducks were found dead, scattered underneath a pine tree.
"There are kids that play soccer here that could come across them, or people who bring their young children here to play on the playground, it's not a good thing," Petersen said.
The Division of Wildlife Resources wants to know where these ducks were shot and when. It's illegal to hunt in the park, plus duck hunting season ended on January 17.
"We think it's more likely than not that these birds were probably taken during the season that ended about a month ago and then dumped at this park for some unknown reason, which would be illegal to do," said Captain Mitch Lane of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
DWR said the ducks may have been buried under the snow, which is why it took so long to discover them. Lane said the state expects hunters to cook the meat and throw away the remains in the garbage can.
"It's unlawful to allow protected wildlife to waste or spoil or to abandon it," Lane said. "Just dumping them in a city park is not a very responsible thing to do."
Paul Jacobs walks his dog at the park. He said he loves animals, and it's pretty obvious whoever left these ducks, doesn't feel the same way.
"It just makes me upset because what do they think of life if they just shoot them and leave them here? What do they think of life as far as that goes?" Jacobs said.
Ken Nessen is an avid hunter who lives across the street from the park. He said those responsible are giving him, and all his fellow hunters, a bad reputation.
"In my opinion they're idiots, they shouldn't even be allowed to have a gun," Nessen said.
This crime is considered a misdemeanor, which could result in a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail, according to DWR.
DWR is looking for help catching those responsible. If you have any information you're asked to contact them.
The Humane Society of Utah stated Thursday they are offering a $3,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the deaths. They stated they hope the reward helps DWR personnel find those who committed the crime.
“We are upset by this wasteful criminal act and want the public to know this is not tolerable behavior,” stated Gene Baierschmidt, HSU executive director. “We hope the reward helps the DWR make a conviction.”