Neighbors upset after turkey beaten to death

Ottawa County

PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a Holland-area family said a wild turkey was beaten to death near their home.

Beloved by many in the Waukazoo Woods neighborhood in Park Township, the bird was affectionately named Token and Mr. Gobbles.

Authorities say a woman reported Mr. Gobbles was killed July 4 near Waukazoo and Edgewood drives by a group of teens. Almost a week later, passersby can still see hundreds of feathers scattered across the curb.

“One young lady was in a car and she was running it over and then there was a young man with a golf club beating it, another one with a metal pole,” described Quelan Engels, whose daughter witnessed the attack.

Engels said there was one more teen who was using what appeared to be a pellet gun.

“It’s very unusual to have that in this neighborhood,” Engels added.

Engels says she called the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, which has opened an animal cruelty case.

“I cried. It’s sick,” said neighbor Lynn Truhn, who lives a few hundred feet away from where the bird died.

Truhn is a self-proclaimed animal lover and maintains an animal conservation space in her backyard. She said the thought of something like this happening is infuriating. 

“It’s not respectful and it’s terrible, terrible. I mean, can you imagine what that poor turkey went through?” she said.

Some neighbors say they were not surprised to hear the animal had been killed because it was often aggressive. 

“We ran every time we saw it. It would chase cars down the road,” neighbor Caroline Von Glahn said.

Von Glahn said that on more than one occasion, the bird tried to attack her family members. 

“It was pretty scary,” she recalled.

Von Glahn said although the turkey was sometimes aggressive, hearing that it was beaten to death was alarming. 

“I think that was very uncalled for,” she said. 

Some are concerned the death has bigger implications about the suspects. 

“If somebody can do that to a turkey, they can do that to a human,” neighbor Lynn Truhn said.

Neighbors want those responsible to be held accountable.

“I want them to understand why what they did was bad, to understand how they have to respect life in whatever form it is,” Quelan Engels said.

Anyone with additional information on the alleged turkey attack is asked to call the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office at 616.738.4000.

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