A homeless man who rescued and raised two ducks is distraught after police and animal welfare officials swooped onto the street and seized his beloved pets.
Russ O'Connor claims he even quit drugs in order to care for the animals, which he found as motherless ducklings. He raised them into adulthood on the streets of Newton Abbot, Devon.
O'Connor was furious with the authorities for taking the birds away. He said: "They played every rule in the book to take my ducks. I wouldn't sign my pets over to them so the police seized them from me.
"I gave up smoking weed to take care of my ducks, they did not like that people liked to visit my ducks each day," reported the Exeter Chronicle.
Pictures from the scene show a large police presence surrounding O'Connor sitting on the pavement with a loaf of bread and his pets in a small orange paddling pool. One police officer can be seen grinning as she chats to another.
Witness Kymberley Pearl Hatton wrote on Facebook: "Nine officers, a riot van and two police cars! What the hell? Why don't they do some real work instead of harassing a guy down on his luck."
A spokesman for the animal charity behind the seizure said: "The RSPCA has 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."
A police spokesman said: "Police were called to assist the RSPCA. Officers seized two ducks on behalf of the RSPCA."