Fowl’s experience more ‘fishy’ than ‘ducky’

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David Schantn brings Miguel the duck home from successful surgery to have a fishing hook and line removed from his throat. Photo by Marti Norris.

David Schantn brings Miguel the duck home from successful surgery to have a fishing hook and line removed from his throat. Photo by Marti Norris.

One of Yvonne Dumalski’s favorite pastimes is feeding the ducks of Canyon Lake from her home on Cinnamon Teal Dr. She has even named many of her “regulars” including a striking black and white fella she calls “Miguel,” who came close to losing his life earlier this month.

Yvonne’s son, David Schanten, an animal lover and activist who saves and rehabilitates possums and other animals, has been helping his elderly mom for the last 10 years.

On August 5, David’s son Michael was helping his dad and grandmother when he noticed a duck in distress on the dock. It was Miguel. “He was almost drowned,” said Michael who reached in the lake and pulled Miguel out. He immediately noticed that a fishing hook and line was caught deep in the duck’s throat.

According to David, the line with hook had been tied to the dock and left unwatched (possibly in hopes of catching a fish). David and Michael attempted to remove the hook but, with his wild animal experience and knowledge, David knew it was too deep to be removed safely.

Because the Canyon Lake veterinary offices were closed, David took Miguel to CBS Pet Emergency in Murrieta. After examining the duck, the vet informed David that Miguel would need to be be put under anesthesia in order to perform the operation, and the cost would be $800.

David says he was shocked but knew he could not let poor Miguel suffer or be killed. He agreed to pay the money out of his own pocket.

The doctors, after a brief discussion, told David they would be happy to help Miguel for a small donation rather than a huge bill paid by a good samaritan. David happily agreed and even paid them extra for their generosity.

After the surgery, David took Miguel home for rehabilitation. A few days later, Miguel was as good as new, and David returned him to his home in Canyon Lake.

“At first he didn’t want to leave,” says David, “but soon decided the water looked too inviting.”

Today, according to David, Miguel is happy and doing fine.

David is concerned about hooks being left where ducks, geese and other animals can get to them and be harmed or possibly die. On behalf of Miguel and all other wildlife, he would like to remind anglers, kids and adults to please be sure not to leave behind any fishing equipment or supplies.

“The wild birds and animals are just as much a part of ‘the Lake’ as the humans,” he says.

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Donna Kupke