Ohio high court won't hear appeal over veteran's pet ducks

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Posted: Dec 31, 2015 11:48 AM
Ohio high court won't hear appeal over veteran's pet ducks

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by a military veteran who sought to defy local law and keep pet ducks that he says help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Darin Welker told the Coshocton Tribune (http://ohne.ws/1R0u76K ) that he's considering suing his village, West Lafayette, following the high court's decision on Wednesday. But, he plans to talk with his attorney before deciding.

Welker was convicted of a minor misdemeanor for violating a ban on keeping most farm animals in West Lafayette, about 80 miles east of Columbus. A state appeals court upheld his conviction in June.

Welker has argued that the half-dozen ducks have been therapeutic for him after he served in Iraq with the Army and was medically discharged from the Ohio National Guard.

One member of the Supreme Court, Justice Sharon Kennedy, disagreed with the court's decision and said she would have accepted the review on the issue of medical necessity as a viable affirmative defense.

Welker's attorney, Robert Weir, didn't respond to a message seeking comment on Wednesday.

Retiring Mayor Jack Patterson told the newspaper he's glad about the court's decision but acknowledged that might not be the end of legal action in the case.

Patterson, who also leads the Coshocton County Veterans Service Commission, noted that the village had modified its ban in a way that might allow Welker to keep a couple of ducks, and it didn't enforce the measure during the appeals process, despite Welker remaining noncompliant.

A former village councilman takes over as mayor on Friday.