Minnesota cop: Decapitating 5-year-old boy’s pet chicken was ‘like taking care of any rodent’
The police chief in Atwater, Minnesota has drawn criticism for sneaking into a resident’s home to kill her 5-year-old son’s pet chicken in response to noise complaints from a neighbor, the West Central Tribune reported.
“I guess I don’t regret it, because it’s like taking care of any rodent in town,” Chief Trevor Berger said regarding his actions against Ashley Turnbull and her son, Phoenix Turnbull. Ashley Turnbull has filed a complaint accusing Berger of trespassing when he entered her property when no one was home and decapitating the animal with a shovel, then leaving the head behind after taking the carcass away.
“The chicken was like a puppy dog to my son,” she told the Tribune. “You wouldn’t do that to a puppy.”
The boy received the chicken, as well as other small chickens and ducks, as a birthday gift earlier this year. At the time, Ashley Turnbull said, she was unaware of a local ordinance prohibiting poultry from being housed in residences. But she later ignored a verbal warning to remove the animals, saying local city council members were considering lifting the ban. She also said she never received a written warning on the issue. Berger confirmed that he was asked to prepare an ordinance allowing chickens to be owned as pets, which he is scheduled to introduce at a council meeting on Wednesday.
But in August, the council directed Berger to enforce the ban after seeing pictures of a muddy poultry pen on Turnbull’s property taken by her neighbor, Dick Rierson.
Berger told the Tribune that he arrived at Turnbull’s residence on Aug. 16 to find the chicken in a neighboring yard. He said he chased the animal for 10 to 15 minutes before seeing the rest of the fowl trying to get out. At that point, he said, he “dispatched” the chicken with a shovel he found leaning on her garage, saying he wanted to provide Rierson “some results.”
But Turnbull said Berger has handled the issue unprofessionally.
“I still feel he owes my son an apology and he owes us a chicken,” she was quoted as saying.
[Image: “Chicken behind fence watching outside,” via Shutterstock]