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Wild Turkey Dodges Cops In Slapstick Apartment Chase

A trespassing turkey takes the police on a wild goose chase.

A wild turkey led police on a merry dance in Wisconsin last week, breaking into an apartment and repeatedly evading capture when officers turned up to rescue and release the bird. "It really underscores the unpredictable nature of the job, that our officers are asked to do at any given time," says Wausau Police Department Patrol Captain Todd Baeten. Here's what happened.

Breaking and Entering

Wausau Police Department

The turkey broke into a second-floor apartment in Wausau, Wisconsin, raising the suspicions of neighbor Doris Madden who saw the broken window and alerted the apartment manager. The manager investigated and discovered the potential burglar was, in fact, a turkey. "We had no idea what had caused it, or if anybody was even home," Madden told WSAW-TV. "I think it's kind of funny. I'm just glad it wasn't my apartment."

According to Madden, the apartment manager called maintenance, who refused point blank to interfere with the bold bird. "When he opened the door, there's the turkey. And so he thought, 'I'm not going to try to catch that thing.' So he called the police station for animal control," Madden said.

The Cops Step Up

Wausau Police Department

With no animal control officer available, the brave men of Wausau's police department stepped up to challenge the marauding turkey. "We have one humane officer, so a lot of times the first response in any call including animal calls are our patrol officers," explained Captain Baeten. "They just have to try to do the best they can with the information that they have and the equipment available to them."

A Wild Turkey Chase

Wausau Police Department

What happened next is worthy of the best slapstick comedy—the police, armed with protective gloves and a fishing net, tried to (gently) apprehend the turkey, only to be repeatedly thwarted in their attempts. Each time the officers got close to the turkey, it would either run or fly away. "We needed two of these, Brady," one officer told another as the turkey bolted for the kitchen.

The turkey was eventually safely captured and released back into the wild, hopefully having learned its lesson about breaking the law. 

Turkey Home Invasions are Common

Courtesy Loudoun County Animal Services

This turkey home invasion is by no means unique—there have been a spate of recent turkey break-ins across the US. A New York woman had a wild turkey smash through an upstairs window in her house in 2021, wreaking havoc through the property until it was caught and released. A Loudoun County, Virginia family thought they heard an intruder breaking into their house in 2020 only to discover a wild turkey had broken a window and come into their home, barricading itself in the bathroom. "We're happy to report that while the turkey did take out the entire window in the family's home, he was unhurt and quickly fled the scene to roost in a nearby tree," Loudoun Animal Services joked in a Facebook post. "When asked for comment on why he had committed this crime, he responded 'gobble, gobble.' Officers remain unsure of the turkey's true motives, but have suspicions that he may have been planning on stealing the family's toilet paper."

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Consider Turkey Insurance

Wausau Police Department

These incidents are so common that insurance companies warn people to be prepared for turkey trouble. "When wild turkeys tear their way into your home, they're not going to do it by peacefully entering through the front door," says Trusted Choice insurance. "Most likely they'll bust through a window, resulting in shattered glass and perhaps other damage. They might also shred a screen door. Luckily homeowners insurance provides coverage for damage to your home's structure."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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