Pet Chicken Decapitated by Minnesota Police Officer
Action Alert from


United Poultry Concerns (UPC)
September 2014


Atwater, Minnesota Police Chief Trevor Berger went on the property of the Turnbull family where he proceeded to club to death with a shovel and decapitate a small red hen next to her coop in response to a neighbor's complaint that the family was keeping three chickens and two ducks illegally.

The birds were companions of 5-year-old Phoenix Turnbull, whose neighbor saw Berger walk up to the chicken by the coop and swing the shovel “up and down” as he and his young daughter watched, according to yesterday's article in

Mayor Mark Olson
phone (320) 295-6392
[email protected] 

Council Members:

Reed Schmidt (320) 220-0825

Shane Hagstrom (320) 295-6346
[email protected]

Gary Tagtow (320) 974-8745

Patrick Wortham (320) 337-0242
[email protected]


Atwater is a rural town southwest of Minneapolis. The Atwater City Council may soon adopt an ordinance allowing residents to keep some chickens and ducks.

pet chicken
Phoenix Turnbull holds his pet hen.

Officer Berger could have worked with the Turnbull family about keeping their coop sanitary, if that was an issue. At most, he could have taken the 5 birds into custody until the proposed ordinance was voted on or some other humane solution was found. Instead, Officer Berger violated the Minnesota Cruelty to Animals Statute which prohibits “cruelly beating” an animal.

Under Minnesota law, “Torture” or “cruelty” means every act, omission, or neglect which causes or permits unnecessary or unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death to an animal. Officer Berger should be stripped of his badge as a “peace officer.” He inflicted unnecessary pain, suffering and death on an innocent bird by beating her to death with a shovel next to her own coop.

Express your outrage to Atwater's Mayor and City Council, who are meeting tonight, Sepember 3.

Read United Poultry Concerns' letter to the Atwater Mayor and City Council.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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