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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 23 May 2001 Issue:


On May 3, 2001, Minnesota State Trooper Mark Lund intentionally drove his squad car at 10 mph over an adult female turkey in front of the Carver County courthouse near Minneapolis. On seeing she was still alive, Mr. Lund spun her head around to break her neck. Lund has been charged with animal cruelty and his case has been moved from Carver County to Renville County to avoid conflict of interest issues.

Please read the letter below and based on the information, write a polite short letter to the prosecuting attorney requesting that Mr. Lund be prosecuted for cruelty to animals. Please do not fire off an angry letter. Politely but firmly urge that state trooper Mark Lund be prosecuted. Mr. Lund's arraignment hearing (at which he is formally charged with committing a crime and asked how he pleads) is set for June 4th. Write to:

Mr. David Torgelson
Renville County District Attorney
PO Box D
Olivia, MN 56277
Fax: 320-523-2667
(Tel: 320-523-2661)


May 22, 2001

Mr. David Torgelson
Renville County District Attorney
PO Box D
Olivia, MN 56277

Dear Mr. Torgelson:

I would like to thank you very much for talking with me yesterday in response to my phone call to you concerning the prosecution of Minnesota state trooper Mark Lund, who is charged with cruelty to animals for running over a turkey with his squad car outside the Carver County courthouse on May 3rd. I urge you to proceed with the prosecution of Mr. Lund.

Please allow me to offer several considerations in this matter. Had it been necessary to remove the turkey from the area, why didn't Mr. Lund contact a licensed humane officer? In addition, there are three animal advocacy organizations in Minneapolis that would have assisted in finding this turkey a permanent home in a sanctuary such as ours: Defenders of Farm Animals, Compassionate Action for Animals, and the Animal Rights Coalition. Turkeys are easily captured when they are roosting, and they generally roost in the same place every night. Instead of using reason and forethought to solve a minor "animal problem" humanely, Mr. Lund acted brutally. He inflicted a particularly cruel and ugly death on a bird befriended by many courthouse staff. In doing so, he also caused suffering to these people, whose caring treatment probably encouraged this bird to feel secure in the area.

Mr. Lund's method of disposing of this turkey was mean. He is pleading "this is how we do things on the farm" and the "DNR made me do it." These excuses are not only craven but absurd. Mr. Lund was not on the farm. He was outside the Carver County courthouse, and farmers do not normally dispose of farmed animals by running over them. Even if the DNR did tell Mr. Lund to kill the turkey, did the department tell Mr. Lund to drive over this defenseless bird with his squad car? This trooper drove over a full-grown female bird weighing at least fifteen pounds and then spun her neck around to break it. In any case, he alone is responsible for his action.

The bird could have easily been trapped and relocated, if in fact she was the nuisance Mr. Lund claims she was, which is disputed. If Mr. Lund is not prosecuted for cruelty to animals, his crime will be compounded and a message will go out to young people and others that running over an animal you don't like and want to get rid of-roadkill-is acceptable behavior. As an officer of the law, Mr. Lund has a duty to society. His judgment in this case was so poor that his fitness as a state trooper should be questioned.

As for the DNR telling Mr. Lund to kill this turkey because (according to the Star Tribune, May 11, 2001), "it was a mixture of wild and domestic turkey and would ruin the bloodline of wild turkeys," this is nonsense. On such grounds, every "wild" turkey should be destroyed because there isn't a turkey that doesn't include both 'wild" and "domestic" genes. The history of random matings and wanderings of wild and domestic turkeys is well known to anyone familiar with the literature. The very idea that a single female turkey in the middle of town had to be run down by a trooper in a squad car in order to protect wild turkey genes is so silly the DNR and Mr. Lund should be ashamed.

Please prosecute Mark Lund. In running over the turkey on May 3rd, he set a vicious example for youth and for others. Not to prosecute Mr. Lund is to legitimize road kill as a method of handling "animal problems" and to sanction cruelty and violence in general. Please don't send a message to high school students and others that a state trooper does not have to show empathy or exercise judgment in handling situations, but may resort to myopic violence and get away with it. This is a green light to anyone with a cruel streak and to anyone lacking self-control and compassion for their fellow creatures-the kind of person Mr. Lund was in this situation. He turned a simple matter into a horrible experience including death. Wildlife biologists and the DNR know how to capture turkeys with nets, tranquilizers, and other devises which they use to study, tag, and relocate wild turkey populations and to manipulate the birds in many different ways. There is no excuse for Mr. Lund's conduct. When people who do what Mr. Lund did are not prosecuted, society is demoralized and people lose confidence in the integrity and morality of law enforcement. Innocent creatures have to suffer because the "Mark Lunds" of the world are free from accountability. I hope youwill agree this is not the kind of law enforcement our society desires or needs.

I respectfully offer United Poultry Concerns' assistance in the prosecution and conviction of Mark Lund for cruelty to animals. We can provide you with testimony from avian specialists, poultry scientists, and veterinarians concerning the capacity of birds in general and domestic fowl in particular to experience pain and suffering comparable to the capacity of mammals including primates to suffer pain and distress. Please don't hesitate to contact me at 757-678-7875 for further assistance and information.

Thank you again for your consideration of our views on this matter.


Karen Davis, PhD

Information from: United Poultry Concerns

Return to Animals in Print 23 May 2001 Issue

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