Friday, July 29, 2011

Turkey in the Straw

Well, it's one hell of a note when you have wait in line at the bank drive-thru behind some turkey.
Of the animal kind.
No kidding.
Yes, For the love of Pete I had to vie for the bank drive-thru today with a wild turkey.
That's right.
A wild turkey.

By Tim Johnson/
For those of you who are not yet acquainted with this lovely Tom, it is also known as Meleagris gallopavo, a relative of the domestic turkey.

But domesticated it is NOT.
To put it into context - a true story that happened a few years ago. This same kind of bird made two grown men in police uniforms on this island run for the hills after it chased behind them, a few rounds worth, around a truck. They dove for the cruiser, but not before shooting the perp dead.

Apparently, the terrible Tom had menaced two people who were delivering rental baby equipment.

We have, from the actual article by Janet Hefler in the MV Times , the following (paraphrased and quoted):

"On Father's Day last Sunday afternoon, a local police officer pumped several bullets into a wild male turkey he feared was a threat to public safety."

The turkey, however, happened to be "Tom," a bird familiar to the next-door neighbors, who had been feeding him since he was an orphaned chick. According to a police report, the neighbor's protest over the turkey's death led to an altercation between him and the two police officers, who arrested him on charges of assault and battery and resisting arrest.

"I got out to help my partner deliver the rental equipment, and it charged me, so I waved my arms like a larger bird and said "Shoo" (it works with seagulls at the beach)," one of the delivery people wrote in the police report. "The bird then came at me aggressively. I ran into the van and the bird turned again to my partner, who also managed to escape into the van."

Then, according to the police report, the officers arrived, got out of their cruiser and spotted the rental equipment on the ground along with a female wild turkey. Suddenly a large male wild turkey appeared and charged the officers.

One officer jumped onto the cruiser's push bumper for protection; the other officer was chased around the the pile of rental equipment three times trying to peck the officer. After charging the officer again, the perpetrator was shot dead with a Glock 40-cal semi-auto.

Although the bird expired, the story did not.D

One patrolman heard the neighbors screaming from the woods, asking what was going on.  "This is the police and we are taking care of a problem turkey,'" the officer said.

"What are you, an idiot?" the neighbor reportedly asked. "Stop shooting my turkeys."

Described as "visibly upset," the neighbor approached one of the officers with a closed fist and then struck him in the mouth, the other officer said. The neighbor allegedly resisted the officers' attempts to restrain him, striking one twice in the chest with his fist and kneeing the other in the thigh, according to their reports. They arrested him and placed him in handcuffs.

"Whether or not this turkey was harassing the police, I still don't think that firing shots near people is appropriate, and I think it's very dangerous," the neighbor's wife said. "I think under the circumstances, we prefer not to talk about this, because there are serious allegations on both sides, and I think we'll wait until after we have discussions with the police chief, who is a very good and honest man, before talking to the press anymore."

"All things considered, it's a shame that a turkey had to be shot, but at least no humans were injured," the chief said. Further, since the officers were responding to a 911 call about an aggressive animal, if they had left without doing anything and someone was injured, the department would be liable. Trapping and relocating an aggressive animal is unlawful in Massachusetts.

"Tom" was stored in the police department's freezer as evidence. The neighbor asked if he could get the bird back to give him a decent burial. At the time the police chief hoped to comply with the neighbor's request. But, as he explained, they had to work with the game warden to see what they could do because legally you can't possess a turkey - dead or alive - unless it's during the turkey season and you have a permit.

Seriously folks, you cannot make this stuff up, even if you tried.
Talk about Keystone Cops.
No Perp Walk there, no sir.

So for the record, I did not get out of the car or shoo the turkey away.
I'm just not into fisticuffs at 9-freaking-AM-in-the-morning.

All in all, having to wait a little bit in the bank drive-thru line isn't too bad.
And I just don't think I ever encountered an issue like this on the Mainland.

But wouldn't you know, when I looked out the study window this morning, there were 8 wild turkeys standing in our yard?

 Have a good one. :)

Mark, this one's for you - you always did love a great story. :)

1 comment:

  1. Aw.. that story is kind of sad. I don't like when animals die but I suppose I can understand what happened.

    In any case, I'm glad the bird did not attack you! Would have been a bit of bother indeed!