Turkey swiped from pen on Bend’s west side

Star of “Galveston petting zoo” is gone

By Scott Hammers / The Bulletin

Published Apr 24, 2014 at 12:01AM

One of Bend’s best-known birds has apparently been plucked.

Giving, a tom turkey that’s lived on the north side of Northwest Galveston Avenue since last fall, disappeared from his pen along the sidewalk on Tuesday.

Sally Russell, Giving’s owner and a Bend city councilor, said it appears someone used clippers to cut a hole in Giving’s wire pen, and used some kind of tool to pry open a latch on the back of his coop. The turkey, and a chicken that shares his pen, were locked inside the coop every night, Russell said, primarily to protect them from raccoons that have attacked her flocks in the past.

Whoever took Giving “had clearly gone prepared so they could get the turkey,” she said.

Russell bought Giving just over a year ago, along with former penmate Thanks, who was eaten last Christmas, Russell said.

Giving was the target of another kidnapping/theft attempt three to four months ago. That time, the big bird managed to fight off the intruders and holed up in his coop.

Bend Police Lt. Nick Parker said while he’s never encountered a turkey theft before, thefts of dogs and other pets are not uncommon in Bend. Stealing a pet dog or cat, livestock, or removing a live wild animal from the wild is considered first-degree theft in Oregon, he said, though the law does not address turkeys.

Parker said while there may be some instances of backyard chickens or rabbits or similar animals being stolen, without evidence of a break-in the owners most likely assume their animals escaped and do not file a police report. Russell’s account of her turkey’s disappearance suggests an organized effort, he said.

“They must have had a cage, that’s the only thought I have. They brought a cage,” Parker said. “But still, the thing would make some kind of noise. How much trouble that would be. ”

Russell said she hasn’t decided if she’ll find a new bird to accompany the chicken now living alone in the pen. Steady pedestrian traffic drew a stream of visitors to see the turkey, she said, stopping to take pictures, make turkey noises, or just watch. Plans to set up a “turkey cam” to record some of his interactions with passersby have been put on hold.

“How many people have never seen a live turkey before?” she said. “It’s like our own Galveston petting zoo. … If any guy knew how to strut his stuff, that guy did. He was beautiful.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0387, shammers@bendbulletin.com