MIDDLETOWN: WILD TURKEY KILLING PROBED

fh-turkeysWild turkeys in Fair Haven in 2011. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Middletown police are investigating a report that a man killed a wild turkey with a police officer’s baton, redbankgreen has learned.

Police are mum about the incident pending the conclusion of an investigation. In response to an inquiry by redbankgreen Thursday morning, MTPD spokesman Lieutenant Steve Dollinger sent this response by email:

The department is currently conducting an investigation into this matter and will not be releasing any information until we obtain all of the facts and conclude the investigation.

redbankgreen learned of the incident, which occurred at or near the intersection of Monmouth Avenue and Swan Avenue in the Navesink section of town earlier this week, from someone who was not present. He said that “many witnesses” saw a policeman give his police baton to a local man, who “killed the turkey with the policeman’s baton in front of witnesses.”

Chief Buddy Amato, who heads enforcement for the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the animal, which he described as a “nuisance,” was reported to police as “causing problems” at the intersection at a time when schoolchildren were expected to be passing by.

The turkey, which had previously been reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Fish & Game unit as a nuisance, was “going back and forth, back and forth” between the street and a backyard, and a crossing guard was concerned for the safety of the children, Amato said.

Amato said an initial investigation by his agency turned up no eyewitnesses, but that by Wednesday, “several” had come forward, and that police would be putting out a press release shortly. He said he “concurred with” the wording of the pending police statement, though he declined to discuss the MTPD’s findings.

Amata also said he reported what he knew about the matter to the Fish & Game unit, which was also investigating because the animal was wild.

A spokesman for the DEP was not immediately available Thursday morning.

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