Frankford’s ‘aggressive’ turkey saga hits a fatal chapter

FRANKFORD — Pet turkeys in Frankford deemed a public safety nuisance by some have stirred serious and light-hearted discussion at recent town council meetings.

Last week the story took a fatal turn.

Sometime after the May 2 council meeting the tom turkey was struck and killed while in the road in front of its owner’s residence in the Delaware Avenue and Mill Street area, Frankford Police Chief Mike Warchol said.

11 Warchol leaving frankford

Police Chief Mike Warchol

“Someone ran the male over and killed him,” said Chief Warchol. “I wasn’t there when it happened but I saw pictures that were taken immediately after. I talked to the lady that owned the turkey and she was sitting in her driveway in her car. He (the tom) was out in the roadway and someone sped by and hit him, and hit him so hard it knocked his tail feathers out. And he’s a big guy. You can’t miss him.”

Delaware’s Office of Animal Control is handling the investigation.

“I am very upset. We tried to help the lady (owner),” said Chief Warchol, adding that because of emotional ties he chose not to be part of any investigation. “So I called Animal Control. They started an investigation.”

The lieutenant doing the investigation is a retired DNREC wildlife officer, Chief Warchol said.

The two turkeys have been town “residents” for quite some time, the chief said.

Complaints and concerns surfaced when the male became aggressive.

“Apparently they came into their period where they mate. The male turkey started to get aggressive towards cars passing by and stuff. He would go out and gobble in the street. We tried to deal with that. But we weren’t real successful unfortunately,” Chief Warchol said. “Then the female started laying eggs. When she did she came down behind the water plant in the fenced in area. She laid her eggs in there. So we basically locked them both in there for a couple weeks. We thought that we had taken care of the issue.”

But then the birds gave up on the eggs.

“They realized they weren’t viable. So they both went back to their house,” said Chief Warchol. “She was looking for a safe place to lay eggs. They stayed there about three weeks. They went back – and that is what happened.”

At the May 2 meeting, nearby resident Dana Aliberti said she was fed up with the nuisance, offensive bird and wanted the town or some authoritative body to take action.

“It involves me,” Ms. Aliberti said. “Don’t we got turkey rules.”

Town councilman Marty Presley said the town’s outdated charter was no help.

“The charter gives authority to corral wild boar on Main Street. It doesn’t give any authority for turkey,” said Mr. Presley.

Amid light-hearted chuckles that included suggestions to make the bird the “town mascot,’ Ms. Aliberti walked out of the council meeting.

Robbie Murray, Frankford Volunteer Fire Company’s president and safety officer, said it is a serious matter, all kidding aside.

“It is only going to take one episode of them scaring a kid out in the road and getting hit, and I think there is going to be a completely different approach regarding this turkey,” said Mr. Murray at the council meeting. “How would we treat a dog if the dog were to chase kids out in the road and a kid gets struck and more seriously injured?”

Chief Warchol said the owner of the deceased tom is “broken up about it” and the hen is apparently a lonely widow.

“The other day when I was there she was looking for him,” said Chief Warchol. “I don’t know if they mate for life or not but I mean when they get together they stay together.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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