Staten Island Pols Seek Homes for Turkeys

Two turkeys. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Getty)

Two turkeys. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Getty)

Staten Island elected officials are in a fowl mood over their borough’s turkey situation.

Borough President Jimmy Oddo, State Senator Andy Lanza, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Councilman Steve Matteo released a statement this morning seeking “suitable new homes for the population of wild turkeys now inhabiting Ocean Breeze and its adjacent neighborhoods” in order to prevent the turkeys from being turned into dinner.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, according to the release, recently issued permits for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to perform a “capture-removal operation” to relocate the birds to Saugerties, New York. However, “Due to the limited space at the sanctuary … a number of the turkeys had to be slaughtered for food processing.”

“If you have an appropriate piece of property and you want to help save turkeys, we want to hear from you. 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,” Mr. Oddo said.

Ms. Malliotakis also urged New Yorkers to gobble at the opportunity to send the birds to “a place where they’ll be much happier and properly cared for.”

“After several years of wrestling with this issue, it has become evident that the turkeys must be relocated from Ocean Breeze. Having so many turkeys roaming residential neighborhoods yields a generally unsafe situation for motorists and unsanitary conditions for homeowners,” remarked Ms. Malliotakis, whose office is organizing the turkey house-hunting effort.

The following are the characteristics of a good turkey home, her office said:

  • An area of 75 feet by 75 feet for 12 turkeys, an area of 150 feet by 150 for 24 turkeys, and so on.
  • 12-foot fences made of 16-gauge wire mesh, or shorter fences covered by netting to prevent the turkeys from flying out
  • Elevated roosts for sleeping (can be constructed of four-inched diameter poles, three feet above ground level and not near fencing)
  • Places to preen feathers
  • Access to range (short grass area)
  • Protection from predators
  • Access to food and water

“It is suspected that years of hand-feeding have diminished the turkeys’ innate fear of humans, and increased their boldness in entering residential areas,” her office added.