United Poultry Concerns
Promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl

PO Box 150 • Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(757) 678-7875 • FAX (757) 678-5070

June 4, 2001
Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
Trooper Who Intentionally Roadkilled
a Beloved Turkey Goes Free

A Real Life Example of Men Behaving Badly

Machipongo, VA - On June 1st, prosecuting attorney David Torgelson of Renville County Minnesota announced he will not prosecute MN state trooper Mark Lund for intentionally driving his squad car over an adult turkey hen in front of the Carver County Courthouse on May 3rd. Lund was to have been arraigned on charges of animal cruelty today, but Torgelson decided not to let a jury decide whether Lund's cruelty was "justified."

District attorney Torgelson claims trooper Lund acted in "good faith" by running over the turkey in broad daylight in the middle of town. He says Lund's cruelty was "justifiable" because Mr. VanderWeyst, an employee of the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR), advised Lund to "run over it with your squad."

Had it been necessary to remove the turkey from the area, Lund could have contacted a licensed humane officer to capture the bird at roost. Any number of animal sanctuaries would gladly have adopted the turkey if Mr. Lund had bothered to explore reasonable and humane alternatives. Minnesota taxpayers can take no pride in state trooper Lund and DNR employee VanderWeyst as part of the state's law enforcement team. They both should be fired.

Mr. Torgelson told United Poultry Concerns on June 1st that if "somebody else," like a teenager, had done what Lund did to the bird, prosecution would have been appropriate, but Lund's position excuses him. In fact, trooper Lund's position places more responsibility on him, not less. Mr. Torgelson's message to the community is that a law officer is above the law and has even less obligation than others to act wisely and humanely. Indeed, Torgelson's records show that as soon as the DNR learned that the turkey "was important to the community," they wished they would have advised Lund (who was under no obligation to follow their advice in any case) to act differently, "but it was too late." Thus the killing was anything but nonoptional, i.e. "justifiable."

"Mr. Torgelson's decision not to prosecute trooper Lund compounds Lund's crime against the defenseless bird and those who fed and befriended her," said United Poultry Concerns president Karen Davis on hearing the news. "No one benefits from this mishandled episode but those seeking excuses to be cruel. These so-called law enforcers have let all of our communities down."

United Poultry Concerns is a national nonprofit public information animal advocacy organization promoting the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information, visit our web site at www.UPC-online.org

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