OCEAN BREEZE — The fight to save Staten Island's turkeys has been joined by the animal rights group PETA.
An action alert urges members to send letters to South Beach Psychiatric Center officials, who had complained the flock of birds was ornery and unsanitary — prompting a cull that's ongoing.
"These turkeys are here from no fault of their own," said Kristin Simon, senior cruelty caseworker for PETA.
"They deserve to be treated humanely and there's no reasons that these turkeys can't be re-homed."
David Karopkin, founder of GooseWatch NYC, which is also fighting to save the turkeys, said it was great that PETA is coming to the birds' aid, and hoped others would join the fight.
"I think it's perfect. PETA's a huge organization and their letter was perfectly accurate," he said. "The more groups the better."
Bird-lovers thought they had saved the flock when 28 were relocated to an upstate sanctuary in September, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the cull was continuing — and rounded up nearly two dozen birds last month.
The USDA did not respond to requests for comments for this story.
While fighting to save the estimated 30 birds still at the psychiatric center grounds, Karopkin has also been raising money for the Catskills Animal Sanctuary, where the relocated birds were sent.
"The goal is to recoup some of the costs and provide them care," Karopkin said.
The flock can't be returned to the wild because it's a hybrid — a mixture of wild and domestic turkeys — but after hearing about them from the head of the sanctuary, Karopkin thinks they need to find a new spot to move the rest.
"They're very wild animals, they don't belong in a sanctuary," he said. "The turkeys that are from Staten Island have been on the streets for a really long time, they have a grittiness to them."