The canal on Pacheco Boulevard and West I Street, where a few dozen ducks station themselves, is a way to relax for Mark and Cindy Bieber.
Los Banosans for two years, the Biebers have become concerned with the treatment of the ducks.
"(Visitors) always come and pick rocks and throw them and hit the ducks," Cindy Bieber, 52, said.
On one side of the canal is a pathway covered in gravel, which is where the Biebers said they've witnessed passers-by, especially teenagers, get rocks to throw at the ducks.
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Mark Bieber, 50, said the abuse of the ducks goes beyond rock-throwing. He said last year he saw three young men hitting ducks with a baseball bat. More recently, he said he found two dead ducks that had been struck by cars.
Mark Bieber, who works as a private investigator, said one the ducks was crushed by a car on the gravel pathway. He said his training allowed him to see it was purposefully hit by a car.
"We couldn't imagine harming a duck," he said. "It's just crazy."
Bieber said he knows he might be up against a wall trying to get sympathy for ducks in Los Banos, where it's not uncommon to see residents in camouflage in downtown on their way out to a duck hunt.
Bieber said he's had some correspondence with Los Banos police and the Central California Irrigation District. The CCID's office is adjacent to the canal.
Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. said the Police Department takes animal cruelty cases seriously, but all of the cases of dead ducks brought to his attention had no witnesses.
Reyna said the department has stepped up a bicycle patrol in the area to try to catch abuse cases.
"We had to make some shift adjustments to make that happen," Reyna said.
However, Reyna said, animal abuse cases are not a top priority, especially with the recent gang activity in town.
"It's a difficult position to be in," Reyna said. "We don't want to seem insensitive to the wildlife out there."
Chris White, the general manager for CCID, said his company owns the canal and the banks, but the city maintains the banks. He said he hasn't seen any mistreatment of the ducks.
White said his company has no policy regarding the ducks in the canal.
"I don't object to the ducks," White said, "but I don't feel like it's our responsibility, per se."
The Biebers said the best solution would be for passers-by "to just leave the ducks alone, that's all."
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.