Reward offered for info on turkey clubber
BURRILLVILLE – The Rhode Island Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of an individual seen attempting to club a turkey to death shortly before Thanksgiving.
“There were four to five people present when this heinous act of animal cruelty took place,” said RISPCA Director Ernest Finocchio. “And no one has come forward.”
RISPCA learned of the unlawful killing of the bird when workers at the East Providence-based humane society checked their email a few days before the holiday. It contained a video file depicting a man decapitating a white, farm-raised turkey with what appears to be an axe – a practice that’s lawful under the state’s animal husbandry laws, said Finocchio.
In another section of the brief video, however, two men, including one wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and wielding a baseball bat, are seen hovering over a live turkey. The man with the bat strikes the turkey once with great force, but only manages to stun the bird. Then he strikes the bird a second time, at which point the turkey begins flapping its wings wildly, severely wounded but
At that point the video cuts away to a scene with two birds that appear dead. The video, captured on a cell phone camera, contains information that helped RISPCA identify the location where the incident took place, but it was sent to the humane society anonymously.
While the men were probably slaughtering turkeys for a Thanksgiving Day meal, Finocchio said it is unlawful to club a turkey to death. State law allows turkeys to be butchered by quickly severing the jugular vein. Livestock and poultry may also be humanely subdued through “mechanical, electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective,” according to Section 417-2 of the Rhode Island General Laws.
The methodology seen on the video “is just not acceptable,” said Finocchio.
RISPCA is handling the investigation, though the agency informed local police of the probe as a courtesy, members of the Burrillville Police Department say.
Finocchio said RISPCA will accept information about whoever may have been responsible for bludgeoning the turkey anonymously. Tips may be phoned in to the agency at 401-438-8150.