Woman ticketed for harboring ducks speaks out against ticket

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Jennifer Tran Yip, 44, received a ticket from Myrtle Beach police Saturday for harboring ducklings. She and her boyfriend, Justin Chapman, say they are just taking care of ducks at a pond in The Market Common that see hundreds of visitors each day.

This is the couple who owned a duck, JJ, and painted his nails.

According to a police report, police responded to a complaint Saturday afternoon that a resident at The Market Common took ducklings from their mother, while shooing the mother away.

"Not many people love this and I want to send my love to them," Tran Yip told Newschannel 15 Monday.

Yip said she took them because the mother was injured. She stated that she could not get the mother. Officers found three ducklings in a dog crate in the front yard. Police explained to Yip that unless the mother duck had life threatening injuries, humans must leave them alone.

Yip said that the mother wouldn't be able to protect them against turtles.

According to Myrtle Beach city code, it is against the law to own, harbor, or otherwise keep a wild animal.

A Department of Natural Resources game warden was then called in to advise the parties on the wild bird laws. The game warden stated that ducks were considered a nuisance animal in South Carolina and they are illegal to have.

The officer attempted to reunite the ducklings with their mother at Grand Lake but they were not accepted. According to the officers, several of the adult ducks had their nails painted bright orange and pink.

The ducklings are now at The Ark where they will be fostered until they can fend for themselves. Yip was charged with owning, keeping, or harboring a vicious, dangerous animal.

The couple don't see the ducks as wild animals, and don't find a problem in feeding or attempting to rescue the ducks. They say they plan to fight the ticket.

"It is our thing. I don't really think we're doing anything wrong. If someone views this as wrong, I feel sorry for them," Chapman says.

Yip's attorney Johnny McCoy said he believes this is an attack about a lawsuit ongoing with The Market Common Home Owner's Association.

Last year, Yip filed a harassment lawsuit against the HOA for calling several law enforcement agencies including SLED, Myrtle Beach police and DNR about Yip having JJ the duck in her nail salon. The case with JJ the duck has been sent to Circuit Court and will be heard sometime in the future.

McCoy said Yip was not harboring dangerous animals, but being that his client was cited, he will give the criminal process its due regard. He said his client has always cooperated with the numerous complaints made against her in reference to JJ.

McCoy said he believes an anonymous tip was given to Myrtle Beach police by someone with The Market Common HOA Saturday afternoon.