Nursing home residents, state officials clash over wild pet duck

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Residents at a California senior living facility are facing off with state wildlife officials over a wild duck they've raised as a pet for the past two years.

Juanita the duck has lived at Bello Garden Senior Living facility in San Anselmo, CA, 20 miles outside of San Francisco, since she was a few days old. She disappeared from the facility two weeks ago during a storm, but was soon found and brought to a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

Now, due to a state law that makes it illegal for people to own wild animals as pets, Juanita may not be able to return to the nursing home.

Residents say Juanita, who lived in an enclosure on the facility's grounds that includes a small house and a pond, wasn't afraid of humans and was “part of the family,” according to San Francisco FOX affiliate KTVU. In the days since their request for Juanita to be returned was denied, residents have made signs, and written a petition to send to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) asking for an exception to the wild animal rule.

Officials at the wildlife center say the residents are welcome to visit Juanita at any time, and that she seems happy in her new digs.

"She's lucky that she was saved by a person who knew what to do with her and she wasn't hit by a car or caught by a dog,” Melanie Piazza, director of animal care at the rehab facility, told KTVU.  “And she wasn't ducknapped, she was rescued by a caring good citizen.”