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Old 06-13-2008, 09:18 PM   #1
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Default Turkey terror over

Posted on Fri, Jun 6, 2008
Turkey terror over: Testy Tom euthanized
By Jack Knarr

BENSALEM, Pa. — The huge wild turkey that haunted Byberry Road residents for years with surprise attacks has been cooked. Figuratively.

Soon he’ll be cooked. Literally.

Police shot and killed “Testy Tom” on Wednesday after he attacked and clawed a 24-year-old Burger King clerk who had been waiting at a bus stop there near the township police station.

The woman, Jennifer Jackson, was treated at Frankford-Torresdale Hospital in Philadelphia, where the turkey’s talon punctures on her arms were cleaned out and she was given a tetanus shot.

Jackson said she will likely require surgery to repair a shoulder rotator cuff torn as she desperately swung her pocketbook — heavy with a can of soda inside — at the beast to ward it off.

“It was crazy — quite an experience,” said Ms. Jackson.

Thankfully, though, the turkey’s body might be in somebody’s oven right now, as we speak!

Bensalem police have absolutely refused comment, even to acknowledge what happened to the turkey, at the order of Director Fred Harran, said spokeswoman Sandy Scanlon.

Jackson, however, learned of Testy Tom’s fate in a roundabout way.

“The nurse at the hospital, when she called the Bensalem Police Department, they said that they had ‘Tased’ it three times in the past for the same thing” (attacking people), Ms. Jackson said. “And that they had put it down Wednesday.”

Another news report quoted a neighbor who said she heard a shot from the area of the police station across the street, then went over and saw the turkey’s body lying there.

Tom was euthanized after the go-ahead was given by John Papso, Wildlife Conservation Officer for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He said Bensalem police called him in Quakertown after the turkey attack on Jackson.

“I started down (to Bensalem),” Papso said. “I was conversing with them back and forth. I told them if it was having a problem with people, to euthanize it if they could safely do so. I was halfway to Bensalem when they called me back, and said, ‘Okay, we took care of the problem.’

“I continued on down. I’m new on the job, and I wanted to meet the officers.”

Papso said he picked up Testy Tom’s body, too.

“Rather than waste it, I wanted to make sure it went to the needy. I have a list of people I can give a deer or a turkey to, rather than waste it; this turkey went to an individual that could use the help.”

He indicated this was a man with a large family.

Jackson was frightened by Tom’s size when he came after her.

“I was at the bus stop, and I heard it behind me, and I turned around to see what it was,” she said. “The turkey jumped over the fence and started, like, coming at me, and I didn’t know what to do, so I ran across the street, but it ran after me! It was so big. I didn’t know turkeys could get that big. It would have fed like eight families at Thanksgiving.

“It was, like, jumping on me. I had my right arm up, protecting my face. I was defending myself with my pocketbook, which had a can of soda in it, swinging it back and forth to get the turkey off of me. I ended up tearing my shoulder.

“Yeah, I was screaming — a car drove by, and I was, like, ‘HELP!’ and a woman pulled over and she had an umbrella. We finally got the turkey off of me and that’s when my bus came, and I had to go, and I just jumped on the bus.”

Her aunt, a nurse, told her to go to the emergency room instead of work.

As a footnote, neighbors recalled a long history with Tom. He is said to have appeared four years ago with a female mate; they had little babies walking with them. Gradually the turklets disappeared. Then the female dropped from sight. This last mating season, Testy Tom turned really cranky.

“They admitted the turkey has attacked at least five people in the past,” Jackson said. “One of the gentlemen who pulled over to help me said that he was driving by last week, and it was attacking a mother and a child, and he had to kick it to get it off of them. So it’s happened before plenty of times. I hear from the neighbors that it even chases after cars.”

No more. But Spokeswoman Scanlon was asked to ask Director Harran to respond to this question: Why didn’t police do something about this serial attacker before? Why did police allow this terror to continue for so long?

Harran didn’t bother calling back.
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