They’re a common part of Sun Lakes’ Cottonwood Golf Course in Chandler — dozens of ducks swim idly by, while golfers line up their shots.
The residents next to the golf course even have their favorites — white Peking ducks Mollie and Mabel.
So when Jan McClellan and her mother, Pat Stoner, found out that a golfer methodically chased Mollie out of her nest and smashed her eggs, they were furious.
"It was brutal, it was uncalled for," McClellan said. "Somebody who could go off like that over a game of golf — a game of golf is more important than a sentient life? They totally overreacted, whoever it was."
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case of animal cruelty. Deputy Dave Gross said he hasn’t been able to find the man who’s responsible.
"The eggs were probably only several days away from hatching," Gross said.
Gross said the man was seen by a nearby resident who told investigators that he had just teed off on the 14th hole when he drove his golf cart down the path up to a century plant.
Gross said the man then chased Mollie the duck off her nest underneath the plant, and smashed the eggs with his golf club. From there, the man walked across the teebox, cleaned his club off in the nearby lake and drove away.
"It pretty much boils down to just maliciousness," Gross said.
Gross said he’s frustrated because his case has stalled because the Arizona Department of Game and Fish doesn’t want to pursue the investigation. While state law makes it illegal to harm any bird’s nest or any birds, the Game and Fish Department maintains the common white Peking duck is not protected under the statute.
Officials with the Game and Fish Department could not be reached for comment.
In the meantime, McClellan and her mother said they plan to keep an eye on the ducks at Cottonwood Golf Course.
"These little creatures have enough troubles with the predators at night and trying to survive," Stoner said. "I don’t know why anyone would want to hurt them."