Reward of­fered for info on tur­key club­ber

Woonsocket Call - - Front Page - By RUSS OLIVO ro­livo@woonsock­et­call.com

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

still alive.

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.

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