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Dave Olson, Published September 11 2007

Ducks move to new home, family plans to join them

Winnie and Babbles are gone.

From Barnesville, Minn., that is.

The two Pekin ducks that had been at the center of a legal controversy in Barnesville, were moved to a new home Sunday night, one day before they would have become outlaws.

City officials gave the owners of the ducks, Jeana and Eric Lanum, until Monday to get rid of the ducks after the couple’s effort to change the city’s pet ordinance failed.

Had the ducks stayed, the Lanums could have faced a misdemeanor charge.

The family will move from Barnesville to join the ducks in an undisclosed location by the end of the week, Jeana Lanum said Monday.

“But this will not be the end of it,” she said, adding the family has been approached by at least one national TV outlet about telling their story and she said legal action is not out of the question.

Lanum declined to say where the family is moving because of threats they have received, but she said their new home will not be in Clay County.

The city council voted 5-1 in June against changing the city’s pet ordinance, which permits only dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters and caged birds.

When the issue was raised again at a meeting last week, no council member moved to make a change in the law.

John Chattin, former Barnesville city administrator and now the city manager at Bemidji, Minn., said Monday the council handled the matter fairly.

“The difficulty always lies with drawing the line,” Chattin said.

“Someone needs to stand up and applaud the council for their thoughtful deliberations. They listened carefully, weighed public input, and made an informed decision,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555