British police officers have been accused of over-reacting after arriving en masse to remove some ducks from a homeless man.
Russ O’Conner said he had saved the birds which had been living in a cardboard box on the streets of Devon but was now devastated by their loss.
Authorities weren’t happy with the birds’ living conditions however, and police have now removed them from Russ’ care.
The RSPCA said it took action following a number of calls from members of the public concerned about the ducks’ welfare.
"They played every rule in the book to take my ducks (away). I wouldn’t sign my pets over to them so the police seized them from me," a devastated Mr O'Conner said.
“I gave up smoking weed to take care of my ducks, they did not like that people liked to visit my ducks each day.”
Witness Kymberley Pearl-Hatton said there was a heavy police presence when the ducks were seized – including a riot van.
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She had previously spoken with Mr O'Conner who told her how he saved the ducks and looked after them.
Writing on Facebook, she said: “Remember the homeless man I posted about, the one with the ducks he had rescued and raised?
“Someone has called the police and RSPCA, there were nine officers, a riot van and two police cars – what the hell?
“Don’t they have some real work to do instead of harassing a guy down on his luck?”
The RSPCA responded to growing complaints saying “we received a number of calls regarding a homeless man who was keeping two ducks in a cardboard box in Newton Abbot, Devon.
“On Thursday, February 2 police seized the ducks and placed them into RSPCA care over concerns that their welfare needs were not being met.
“The ducks have been placed into boarding at a private establishment and there is now an investigation ongoing.”
Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed: “Police were called to assist the RSPCA. Officers seized two ducks on behalf of the RSPCA.”