HOLLAND, Mich — Four Ottawa County teenagers accused of killing a turkey, known as "Mr. Gobbles," appeared in Holland District Court Tuesday.
Elijah Vander Lee, Thomas Sinclair, Benjamin Slenk and Megan DeMeester were charged with unlawful taking of a turkey for the bird's death on July 4 in Park Township's Waukazoo Woods neighborhood.
The neighborhood is disturbed, said Craig Brumels, who found the turkey with its head cut off. Other neighbors say the group ran over the turkey and beat it to death with blunt objects.
"It was a neighborhood turkey that never hurt anybody," Brumels said. "It's very disturbing that these kids would think that way."
The four 18-year-old defendants pleaded not guilty. The Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office may amend the charge to animal cruelty if they do not plead guilty, according to court records.
Some neighbors said Mr. Gobbles could get aggressive, but others refuted the claim. The turkey, also known as "Token" or "Earl," left behind a mate and three chicks.
A small group of concerned neighbors who attended the arraignments on "behalf of the turkey," want strict punishment for the group.
"How can anybody do that to an animal?" asked Lynn Truhn, who has lived in the Waukazoo Woods neighborhood for nearly 40 years. "If they can do it to an animal, what else are they going to do? I just don't understand it."
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