Prosecutor mulls charges in turkey’s beating death

Ottawa County
Wild turkey killed

Feathers are seen in the Waukazoo Woods neighborhood the week after neighbors say a friendly wild turkey was killed by a group of teens. (July 9, 2019)

PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Prosecutors are considering charges in the beating death of a wild turkey that was a popular fixture in a Holland-area neighborhood.

The bird, who neighbors affectionately called Token or Mr. Gobbles, was killed July 4 in the Waukazoo Woods area in Park Township.

According to a police report obtained Thursday, witnesses said four teens — three boys and a girl — were having a party when they decided to kill the turkey. One witness told an Ottawa County sheriff’s deputies that she watched the teens intentionally force the turkey into a road, at which point the girl sped up to hit it with her car. The teens then beat it with a golf club and decapitated it. In all, the whole incident lasted about five minutes.

When investigators tried to talk to the teens, most said they had contacted attorneys. One did speak to the deputy, saying the act wasn’t intentional. He said the turkey had charged him and that he and the others joked about killing the turkey. They started chasing it, the teen said, at which point things got out of hand. The suspect claimed the girl didn’t mean to hit the turkey. He said after they injured the bird, they killed it to put it out of its misery.

Deputies sent their report on to prosecutors, who may choose to file animal cruelty charges.

Many of the area residents loved Mr. Gobbles, and the police report says one neighbor said the bird was gentle and would eat out of his hand. Others told 24 Hour News 8 the bird was often aggressive, but that didn’t justify beating it to death.

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