Community outraged after "Glenny" the turkey euthanized in Haddon Heights

HADDON HEIGHTS, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A wild turkey that became a mascot of sorts for Haddon Heights, New Jersey was put down this week, leaving many in town outraged.

At the intersection of Black Horse Pike and Prospect Ridge Boulevard in Haddon Heights sit balloons and a sign that says, "RIP Glenny."

"Once in a while I would come out to chase the turkey out of the street because he would like block traffic or whatever," said Brian Rodriguez, who works at the McDonald's at that intersection.

"He was friendly. He was a nuisance with the traffic but he was a wonderful bird," said Dorothy Belins of Haddon Heights.

Residents say Glenny the turkey appeared just after Thanksgiving.

Viewer video shows him hanging out in front of Papa Mario's Pizza in early January.

"When any vehicles approached him he would fluff up his feathers, like, 'Hey, I'm bigger than you think!'" said Mario Giordano.

After weeks of the turkey traffic, Laurie Zaleski, owner of Funny Farm Rescue in Mays Landing, got involved.

"I started to receive calls from Haddon Heights members," she said.

Zaleski says she trapped Glenny and brought him to her farm on Sunday, keeping him quarantined until a planned release party for Glenny that was to happen this weekend.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture took Glenny from the farm and euthanized him.

A spokesperson for the USDA said in a statement: "Based upon protocols specified in a 2019 Wildlife Services agreement between the USDA and the NJDFW, the turkey was humanely euthanized since it had been in contact with domestic birds and presented a disease risk to native wildlife."

Zaleski says she would've paid to have Glenny or her other birds tested for diseases. And she was devastated that he was taken while she wasn't home.

"They're spending tax dollars on taking a turkey that we had a solution for. It's very frustrating," she said.

Laurie Zaleski says Funny Farm Rescue cleared Glenny's capture with local fish and wildlife representatives before doing anything.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Larry Hajna said you must have a proper license to capture wild animals. He also said to avoid feeding wild turkeys.

Hajna says if you see an animal posing a threat or in traffic, you should call your local police department.

If a wild animal is causing damage to your property, he says you should contact the USDA at (908) 735-4513.
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