04/29/2006

Cop captures a flight risk; Wild turkey roams in Iowa

Copyright 2006 Woodward Communications, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

EMILY KITTLE
Telegraph Herald

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Dubuque Police Cpl. Dan Sabers has been called on to break up fights, apprehend violent offenders and secure traffic accident scenes.

But on Thursday morning, the 20-year police force veteran was given a task with a twist: Capture a wild turkey roaming Dubuque's downtown.

"It was my first and probably my last," a chuckling Sabers said of the bird apprehension.

Police said they weren't sure how the possibly sick or injured bird made it to the heart of the city.

Sabers responded to the area of Eighth and Main streets at about 10:45 a.m. after dispatch was notified that a turkey was flying into the windows of a building. Citizens apparently had chased the bird but were unable to catch it.

The police corporal threw a blanket over the cowering hen - unsuccessfully trying to hide against a building - and pinned the approximately 12-pound bird to the ground. Sabers, the only officer who responded to the call, wrapped the turkey in the blanket and drove it to the Mines of Spain, where the wild bird was to be set free.

The turkey, however, didn't survive the transport.

"It was kicking me as I pulled into the Mines of Spain, so I was shocked when I opened the blanket," Sabers said.

Police were unsure how the turkey died, but they surmised that the bird had gone into shock from the capture and transport.

Thursday's turkey call wasn't the first animal response requested of police. Officers have been called on to capture plenty of dogs, cats and deer - some of which have entered homes and businesses.

"We don't have a lot of structured training dealing with animal calls," said Dubuque Assistant Police Chief Terry Tobin. "It is somewhat of an on-the-job training process." 
 
Dubuque Police Cpl. Dan Sabers takes a wild turkey to his patrol car after catching it on Main Street in Dubuque on Thursday. The bird died in transport to the Mines of Spain.

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