Federal agriculture officials are moving several dozen wild turkeys from a Staten Island neighborhood to a slaughterhouse upstate, a response to disturbance complaints and health concerns over the birds that is nevertheless drawing criticism from animal lovers.
About 80 wild turkeys have been roaming the South Beach Psychiatric Center campus, and the state-run facility has complained that the birds have "left excessive feces on handrails and sidewalks" and at times blocked ambulances from pulling up to the Staten Island University Hospital next door.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture was given authorization from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation to remove up to 100 birds from the campus, according to spokeswoman Carol Bannerman.
"Our job is to address places where damage is occurring," she said.
Fans of the turkeys are protesting, asking that officials move the turkeys to a sanctuary instead of a slaughterhouse.
"They shouldn't kill them," said Megan Delmar, who runs a non-profit riding academy for disabled children next door, where the turkeys occasionally roam.