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Staten Island Legislators Want You to Host Wild Turkey Flock

By Nicholas Rizzi | April 11, 2014 2:32pm
 A group of Staten Island elected officials issued a public plea to find suitable spaces to relocate the flock of turkeys who live in Ocean Breeze.
A group of Staten Island elected officials issued a public plea to find suitable spaces to relocate the flock of turkeys who live in Ocean Breeze.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

OCEAN BREEZE — Staten Island elected officials want you — to provide a home for a flock of wild turkeys.

A group of elected officials issued a public plea on Thursday for spaces to relocate the entire flock of turkeys that live in Ocean Breeze and save them from the slaughterhouse.

"If you have an appropriate piece of property and you want to help save turkeys, we want to hear from you," Councilman James Oddo said.

The plea by Oddo, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, State Senator Andrew Lanza and Councilman Steven Matteo came following the U.S. Department of Agriculture's controversial cull of the turkeys from the grounds of the South Beach Psychiatric Center last year, which sparked outcry.

The culling was called to a halt when an animal sanctuary upstate took in 28 of the turkeys. But when the sanctuary ran out of room for the rest of the flock, the agency reinstituted the cull. Now the elected officials are trying to convince a number of animal sanctuaries across New York to take in the turkeys, to no avail.

After lawmakers sent letters to the DEC, the cull was postponed until officials could find a place to relocate the remaining turkeys, Malliotakis said.

To take in turkeys, properties would need a 12-foot fence made out of wire mesh, or shorter fences covered by netting, to prevent them from flying out, the DEC said. They would also need elevated roosts to sleep, access to short grass areas, places to prune feathers, protection from predators, food and water, and an area large enough to hold the turkeys.

"Having so many turkeys roaming residential neighborhoods yields a generally unsafe situation for motorists and unsanitary conditions for homeowners,” Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said in a statement. "We’ve recently asked [the Department of Environmental Conservation] to establish ground rules for what’s required and we’re putting forth a good-faith effort to have these birds removed from the streets and front lawns, and relocated to a place where they’ll be much happier and properly cared for.”

"The reality is that the situation in Ocean Breeze is untenable, and government has to act to help those whose quality-of-life has been negatively affected by the turkeys. But, no one wants the turkeys killed. We would prefer to find them an appropriate home where they can live out their days in their natural environment," Malliotakis added.

Anybody interested in taking home the turkeys is asked to contact Malliotakis's office at 718-987-0197 or by email at marronep@assembly.state.ny.us.