CREATED Nov. 13, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Someone is mangling the birds at Sunset Park in southeast Las Vegas, and animal rights advocates are crying foul.
You can go boating in the lake as long as it's a remote-controlled hobby craft, but some say the operators of those toys on steroids are using waterfowl as targets.
Veterinarian Joanne Stefanatos of Animal Kingdom says, "In the last year especially, I would say that the birds coming from Sunset Park that were injured has more than doubled. This year it's been at least 75 already."
Stefanatos says she is convinced that the injuries she's seeing, ranging from mangled wings to severe fractures, are due to the fast-moving boats.
You can't fish in the lake while remote-controlled boats are running, but witnesses say nothing keeps the boats from running down the birds.
One witness who wants to remain anonymous estimates the boats go as fast as 80 miles an hour. He adds, "And people wanna fight because, you know, hey, I got a $800 dollar boat here, and you just got all these ducks in the way. Don't feed the ducks. Don't race your boat."
Action News didn't see any remote-controlled boats in the lake on Wednesday, but animal rights advocate Annoula Wylderich says they've been a problem for some time.
Wylderich says, "Three years ago before the park had been closed for renovations, a woman contacted me and said she actually saw a duck with its feet sheared off and she saw it colliding with one of the boats. I don't want to see anybody denied the right to use the park. It's a privilege that we all should be able to enjoy. But I think we need to be responsible."
A county spokesman says patrols are being stepped up in response to recent complaints, but animal advocates want more.
The issue is up for discussion at Thursday's animal advisory committee meeting at 6:30 in the Clark County Government Center.