Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Town Offers $200 Reward for Beloved Turkey

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Town Offers $200 Reward for Beloved Turkey

Article excerpt

Missing: One town turkey. Walks on one leg. Last seen being carried away on Pascack Road in Washington Township.

Reward: $200.

Neither wattle nor feather has been seen of the hobbled turkey -- humorously nicknamed "Eileen" by locals -- since Saturday morning, when two unidentified men allegedly chased down, cornered, captured and carted her away.

The injured bird has become something of a fixture in town over the past two years, and her disappearance has sparked a hunt for her abductors. The fowl first endeared herself to residents when she was spotted hanging out on a grassy area across the street from 5 Star Gas.

Animal control officials believe Eileen's leg never properly healed, becoming calcified as a result. They have tried to capture her on several occasions, but even on one leg, Eileen proved to be a formidable opponent.

In the past, her plight inspired numerous calls for help to animal control and police, and even motivated two elementary school children, who sold turkey cookies in November in hopes of raising money for an operation on the bum leg.

Now, everyone wants to know why someone would abduct the town's beloved turkey.

There's an investigation by local police. A $200 reward from the bird's de facto caretaker. Signs posted all over town. And an outpouring of support from local residents -- all hoping for Eileen's safe return.

"It's a disgrace," said resident Larry Bauer, who was sickened by the thought of what could become of the town's beloved turkey. "This damn country is going down the drain if people have to take sick animals. ... What's the world coming to? If those guys return her, I will buy them a chicken."

The motive for the abduction remains a mystery, but police are taking it seriously.

"We want any information concerning this," Washington Township police Lt. Gregg Hackbarth said Monday.

The police were notified Saturday morning by their counterparts in Hillsdale that two white men in their 20s were spotted running north on Pascack Road with Eileen. …

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