The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Just What Are the Duck Rules on Campus?

Lake Andrews, and its waterfowl residents, are the subject of many on-campus rumors. Creative Commons License.

Wild rumors flap from one dorm to the next on Bates College campus. Three strikes for touching a duck, one student says. Disciplinary action is immediately taken if you touch a duck, says another. Don’t even feed them, says a third! 

The question emerges: just what are the Duck Rules here at Bates?

The short answer? There are none. 

So, the rumors are false! Well, yes. But there is a long answer… and it gets complicated

According to Bates Campus Safety Officers Ric McQueeney and Paul Menice, there are no true duck laws here on campus. Why would there be? After all, it would be a waste of ink and time to write down specific clauses on animals which are covered by state law as it is. 

And therein lies the long answer: state law. As McQueeney put it, “They’re wild animals, and you should leave them the hell alone.” Absolutely, though considering what the author’s heard on this campus, it seems like some people need a reminder to respect wildlife. The State of Maine goes into a bit more detail: 

“…a person may not intentionally kill, injure or molest a wild animal or wild bird with a Motor vehicle, Motorboat or Aircraft.” (Read the law here, under 12 M. R. S. A. § 11215

So, just don’t drive into a duck, right? Wrong. Keeping wildlife in captivity, or otherwise importing, breeding or releasing wildlife is also unlawful under 12 M. R. S. A. § 12151 – 12161. (This definitely isn’t a reference to that one time ducks were taken into captivity in the worst enclosures of all, bathtubs in a nearby dorm, for a prank.) Good luck touching a duck, too—assuming it doesn’t fly away (odds are it will), touching it would likely cause severe stress for the animal, which qualifies as animal abuse or cruelty. 

So all in all, don’t touch the ducks, although you can legally feed them in Androscoggin County (where Bates is), though not in Portland. Our beloved campus has no laws against interacting with the ducks specifically, but the State of Maine absolutely does—and which one will give more of a quack? 

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