Winter 2002 Poultry Press Action Alert
Man Kills Family's Turkey with Pool Ball
and Cue Stick on Christmas Day

"For people who can't control themselves, their own impulses, the law has to do it for them."-UPC President Karen Davis quoted in the Daily Camera, Boulder, CO, Jan 10, 2002 ("Turkey Death Suspect Has Record of Bird Abuse" by Christine Reid)

Longmont, Boulder County, Colorado - On December 25, 2001, 21-year-old Luis Contreras killed his girlfriend's family's companion turkey by hitting the bird with a billiard ball and a cue stick after drinking twelve cans of beer. Contreras was charged with cruelty to animals. If convicted he faces an 18-month jail term-the maximum penalty for "misdemeanor" animal cruelty Colorado. This is the second time in 4 months that Contreras has been arrested for abusing a bird. On October 26, 2001, Contreras was convicted of animal cruelty for slamming his girlfriend's cockatiel against a wall in September. He was placed on 18 months probation. Contreras broke probation when he killed the turkey and drank alcohol on December 25.

United Poultry Concerns immediately called Boulder County Prosecutor Karen Peters and issued an Internet Action Alert urging people to urge Peters to request the maximum penalty for Contreras. After being flooded with letters, Peters asked UPC to withdraw the Action Alert as it had achieved its purpose. In "Animal Advocates Renew Call for Tougher Cruelty Laws," in the Daily Times-Call, Longmont, CO, Jan. 11, 2002, Peters told reporter DeeDee Correll, "We will absolutely take this very seriously. He has an animal cruelty on a bird again."

Contreras's cruelty has increased the debate about making animal cruelty a felony offense in Colorado. This year, Colorado Senator Deanna Hanna plans to sponsor a bill that would make animal cruelty a felony and require counseling for youthful offenders.

The Daily Times-Call reported that "As far as United Poultry Concerns is concerned, the case underscores the need for Colorado to join the 33 states that have passed laws making animal cruelty a felony crime. 'When you have a state where people set cats on fire or hurl birds against a wall, clearly these people are doing it in part because they don't fear what will happen to them . . . The idea is, "If I do this, nobody's going to care,"' Davis said. 'We're talking about creatures we've brought into our homes and lives. We have an obligation to protect those animals.'"

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