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Dog owners abuse duck lover

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009
FIONA GOODALL/East and Bays Courier
ABUSED RESCUER: For weeks Azza Hegazy has visited a family of stranded ducks three times a day at Mission Bay to bring them food and fresh water, but other beach goers haven't been so kind.

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A woman who cancelled her Christmas holiday to feed a family of ducks stranded at Mission Bay is angry at the treatment she has received from some members of the public.

Azza Hegazy says the family of 13 paradise ducks lost two of its members before Christmas when the father was hit by a car and one of the babies was eaten by a dog.

The mother duck and her 10 surviving offspring took refuge on the beach at the eastern end of Mission Bay.

"I guess the mum was upset about losing the partner," Ms Hegazy says.

"The mum and her babies were down there day and night in the sun and the wind and the rain."

She phoned the SPCA who sent a bird rescuer to try to capture the ducks and take them to safety.

They managed to rescue the mother and three of the ducklings before Christmas, but the remaining seven proved elusive.

The St Heliers resident took time out from her home business as a nail technician to visit the ducks three times a day, taking them food and water.

The animal and bird lover even cancelled her planned two-week holiday up north over Christmas so she could continue feeding them, fearing they would die if left alone.

Last Tuesday four more of the ducklings were rescued.

The last three had not been rescued by Friday.

Ms Hegazy has had to protect the duck family from dogs illegally on the beach without leads and has been abused when telling their owners about the rules.

"I asked one lady to put her dog on a lead and she attacked me so badly with her words," she says.

"I’ve had all the F-words you can imagine."

She also approached another woman with two young boys who were throwing stones at the ducks.

"I said: ‘Please, be kind to the ducks. Tell your boys not to throw stones’," Ms Hegazy says. "And this woman just looked at me and said: ‘Why should I be kind to the ducks?’

"I guess people around this area think they own the beach or something.

"There’s no reason to be nasty to the birds," Ms Hegazy says.

In the summer months between Labour weekend and Easter weekend dogs are only allowed on-leash access to Mission Bay beach before 9am and after 9pm.

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- East And Bays Courier

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