Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Complaints over Wild Turkeys Mount in Teaneck

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Complaints over Wild Turkeys Mount in Teaneck

Article excerpt

TEANECK -- They have dented cars, held up traffic and even crashed through a kitchen window.

The township has fielded significantly more complaints about wild turkeys this year and has invited a state representative to the council meeting on Tuesday to address residents' concerns over the birds.

"It's all fun and games until the turkeys go bad," said Councilman Alan Sohn, who noted that a few weeks ago a turkey blocked the door to his synagogue, Keter Torah off Roemer Avenue, and, in its way, harassed people.

Ken Katter, the health officer for the township, said he fielded about a dozen turkey-related complaints from residents over a six- week period this year. Last year, he said, there were about two or three.

There have been no turkey-related injuries this year, but one police report has been filed in response to a turkey incident, Katter said.

Katter said he doesn't know the reason for the increase in complaints, but noted that the issue isn't unique to Teaneck. And since the birds are protected by state law, the township cannot touch them, he said. The only people who can are state officials, and only if the birds become aggressive, he added.

Katter said he has alerted the police to the dangers the birds pose -- for example, a driver could cause an accident by swerving to avoid a turkey in the middle of a road -- and forwarded the residents' complaints to the state Department of Environmental Protection. He also has issued a town-wide alert.

"We've really done everything we can on a local level short of asking for a hunt," Katter said.

A DEP technician will be at the council meeting Tuesday to go over concerns with the birds, said Caryn Shinske, an agency spokeswoman. She said the department is aware of five to 10 aggressive turkeys in the township but has been unable to capture them.

Deputy Mayor Elie Katz said that, in almost two decades of council experience, he has never fielded as many turkey complaints as he has this year. …

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