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Tom turkey, terror of Brookline, is caught

A police chase through Brookline backyards netted a Tom turkey Tuesday that is believed to be one of a trio that has been terrorizing residents and mailmen in recent months.

The other two turkeys remained at large.

Armed with nets, police responded to the Aspinwall Hill neighborhood shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday after a woman reported she was attacked by a turkey.

Brookline Animal Control officer Pierre Verrier held the bird.David L Ryan/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Brookline Police Sergeant Bobby Murphy said officers responded to Tappan Street where a trio of Tom turkeys has attacked children on their way to school, and forced some mailmen inside homes on their routes.

A sort of police stakeout ensued Tuesday, until two turkeys were spotted, Murphy said. At first the birds got away, but about three hours later police chased down one of the birds through multiple back yards before finally netting the bird in a back yard along Tappan Street.


The second bird got away, and it and the third troublesome Tom turkeys are still on the lam, police said.

“They are hard to catch,” said Murphy.

Residents in the Aspinwall Hill neighborhood have been complaining about the three male turkeys attacking them in the area in recent months, and met with Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary at Brookline’s Public Safety Building in December.

One of the yards that police chased the turkeys through Tuesday belonged to Petra Bignami, said she has been afraid to take her 10-month-old child outside because of the aggressive birds.

“They just attack anything that moves,” Bignami said.

Postal worker Chuck Hanegan said he’s been attacked by the trio of aggressive turkeys before, including once last week. Hanegan said he called police as soon as it happened, but the birds disappeared into a yard.

During one attack, Hanegan said he had to take shelter in the home of a woman on his postal route. Hanegan said he stood behind the glass front door to the woman’s house, but the turkeys weren’t deterred.


Verrier took the bird into custody.David L Ryan/Globe Staff

“They were pecking at the woman’s storm door,” he said.

Passing through the neighborhood while police were still on scene Tuesday, Brookline resident Carter Carter, who is 25 years old, said he’s been attacked at least six times and has begun carrying an umbrella to defend himself against the gobblers.

“It’s been really a nightmare,” Carter said. “I’ve really whacked them as hard as I could to keep them away.”

Murphy said the birds have attacked children on their way to school and other residents in recent weeks. Murphy said one of the three turkeys hasn’t been spotted in a few days. The other bird, which evaded police Tuesday, was last seen around Beaconsfield and Clark roads Tuesday.

The Tom turkey police caught Tuesday will be taken to Allandale Farm in Brookline and police are working with the Animal Rescue League to test the birds before potentially releasing the bird in a more rural area.

Murphy said police are hoping that by catching one of the turkeys and removing it from the area, the other problematic Tom turkeys will calm down. But if not, he said police will be back to catch them, as well.