- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Minnesota police chief has come under fire after he walked onto a resident’s property and beheaded their pet chicken with a shovel, arguing that he was only enforcing a city ordinance that prohibits fowl.

“I guess I don’t regret it, because it’s like taking care of any rodent in town,” Atwater Police Chief Trevor Berger told the West Central Tribune.

Chief Berger entered the property of Ashley Turnbull when no one was home on Aug. 16, and he clubbed, killed and decapitated a small, red hen with a shovel, leaving the head behind after disposing the carcass.

“I’m sorry it had to happen that way,” Chief Berger told the Tribune. “It’s against city ordinance for a chicken to be in the city and running around in people’s yards.”

Ms. Turnbull admitted she she was verbally warned Aug. 7 by police to remove the three chickens and two ducks from her property. She said she ignored the warning, because local city council members were considering lifting the ban. She also said she never received a written warning on the issue.

Chief Berger confirmed that he was asked to prepare an ordinance allowing chickens to be owned as pets, which he was scheduled to introduce at a council meeting this week, Raw Story reported.

But last month, the council directed Chief Berger to enforce the ban after seeing pictures of a muddy poultry pen on Ms .Turnbull’s property taken by her neighbor, Dick Rierson.

Chief Berger told the Tribune that he arrived at the residence to find the chicken in a neighboring yard. He said he chased the animal for 10 to 15 minutes before seeing the rest of the fowl trying to get out. Since there were children playing in the adjacent yard, the police chief said he didn’t want to use his gun to kill the chicken and the shovel was the “safest way to dispatch it.”

When asked why it was necessary to kill the pet, Chief Berger said the family was “not supposed to have them in the first place” and that he wanted to give Mr. Rierson “some results,” the Tribune reported.

Ms. Turnbull has filed a complaint against Chief Berger and accused him of trespassing.

“The chicken was like a puppy dog to my son,” Ms. Turnbull told the Tribune. “You wouldn’t do that to a puppy.”

“I still feel he owes my son an apology and he owes us a chicken,” she added.

 

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