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http://www.northjersey.com/news/Beloved_Washington_Township_turkey_birdnapped.html?page=all

Beloved Washington Township turkey allegedly birdnapped

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.

One eyewitness told authorities that one of the men cradled the bird in his arms. The pair were described as white, with denim jackets and baseball caps.

Hackbarth said police have taken statements from witnesses, who said the abduction took place just before 10 a.m. No one intervened as the bird was chased through a vacant patch of land, located at Pascack Road and Washington Avenue, across the street from Seasons catering hall, he said.

“That bird is something of an institution up here, and because she has a broken leg, people are calling us about her all the time,” Hackbarth said. “We are keeping an eye out for her. Nobody wants the bird hurt. We’d like to have her back.”

Carol Tyler, senior animal control officer at Tyco Animal Control, said there are no leads about who took Eileen.

Ruth Carrino, a township resident and former veterinarian’s technician who regularly feeds Eileen, said she went to tend to the bird on Saturday but was told by an employee of the 5 Star Gas Station that it had been taken.

“I have been looking for her all around town,” Carrino said. “These two guys apparently chased her and snatched her up. They were on foot; they did not have a car or van. They must have been local. People had to have seen them.”

Carrino and several volunteers have posted fliers all around town, offering $200 for information about Eileen’s disappearance.

But news of the turkey-napping has some residents distressed.

“What a shame,” Jim Joyce said, adding he had seen Eileen on Friday afternoon while running errands with his wife. “Why would someone grab up a turkey like that unless they were trying to help it?”

Terri Isik of Ridgewood also saw Eileen on Friday.

“That’s so incredibly sad,” Isik said. “She was sort of the mascot of this area, and … I just hope they haven’t hurt the turkey.”

Carrino said a few animal rescuers have been helping her look for Eileen. “I hope these two clowns didn’t kill her for fun,” she said.
 

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Now, everyone wants to know why someone would abduct the town’s beloved turkey.
I just imagine someone putting down their turkey sandwich and asking why someone would take a turkey...[eyeroll]
 

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The turkey is being treated at the Raptor Trust.
 

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Raptor trust will take in a turkey ??

I think Eileen is hovering at about 350 degrees right now..
 

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Concerned citizens had put up posters offering a reward for the return of the turkey, described as the town's "unofficial mascot," after it was reported that she had been abducted from Pascack Road, where locals would often feed her.
I thought this was a 'wild turkey' story [eyeroll]
 
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