'Don't feed the wild turkeys!'
HAINESPORT, N.J. - July 13, 2012 (WPVI) -- A new "no feeding the turkeys" rule is in effect in Hainesport, Burlington County, New Jersey.
The wild animals have flocked to the town because people keep feeding them. And even though they're nice and full, the turkeys are still apparently cranky.
Flocks of wild turkeys roaming through the area around Deacon Road in Hainesport have begun to ruffle some feathers with their aggressive behavior.
"A turkey chased me all the way down the sidewalk, and I fell twice," said Karen Harris. "It chased me around the car."
Karen Harris injured her leg and her arm trying to get away.
"It still came after me; that's what I couldn't believe. It still tried to get through the door even though the door closed on its leg!" Karen said.
The mailman has had problems with the turkeys, too.
"They'll spot me and they'll come running up alongside the truck, and as I put my hand out to put the mail in the box, they'll try to peck you," said Warren Knack.
The wild turkeys have also harassed folks walking and jogging at a nearby park.
In response to complaints, town council has passed a new law that bans residents from feeding the turkeys. Violators face up to a $2,000 fine.
State officials say it's a bad idea to feed wild animals because in the case of the birds, they may lose their natural fear of people and become a nuisance. Seems like that has already happened!
"They have some very long nails and their beaks are very, very sharp. And the aggressiveness, they just don't back off from you," said Linda Tilghman.
"We have deer, we have squirrels. You feed everything. I feed the birds. What's the difference?" asked Carol Allison, who is not happy about the new ban.
The wild turkeys flock to her yard where they know they'll get a meal.
When asked if she knew she could get a $2,000 fine if you feed them, she responded, "Yeah, if I get caught."
The township says it will issue warnings first, but says something has to be done to stop the turkeys from stuffing themselves in someone's backyard and then going after residents.
animals, new jersey, local/state, nora muchanic
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