Colorado Woman Given Citation for ‘Disorderly Conduct’ After Helping Turkeys Cross The Road
Mary Ann Strauch, also known as the "Turkey Lady," was recently given a citation for disorderly conduct after attempting to help wild turkeys cross the road safely in Thornton.
Colorado Turkey Lady
The incident occurred near her residence at York Street and 124th Avenue when a motorist nearly hit her as she was assisting the birds.
As a nature enthusiast, Mary Ann is dedicated to ensuring the safety of the animals in her community, but her good intentions have landed her a citation for disorderly conduct. A frustrated driver nearly hit Mary Ann and called 911, leading to a confrontation that ended with both parties receiving tickets.
“She got really irate and jumped out and started yelling at me,” Strauch said. “And she insisted on calling 911 and having the police come out, and then we were all detained out here about 2 and a half hours.”
Strauch, who tapped the back of the car with a stick to herd the turkeys, set the driver off during the altercation. The police were called to the scene and ultimately cited both women for disorderly conduct.
“I try to help the birds be safe, and I think I’m helping the motorists as well,” she said. “Most of the people seem to really enjoy the birds, and they really appreciate me being out here helping the birds.”
Mary Ann's desire to protect these animals has been met with opposition, as drivers zoom past without regard for the safety of the creatures.
The Thornton City Council member, Karen Bigelow, worked with Strauch to get turkey crossing signs installed, but the signs alone do not prevent drivers from speeding through the area.
“What I was told is we can’t touch the turkeys, we can’t re-home them, because they’re wildlife,” she said. “I don’t understand why we can’t rehome these turkeys when we do rehome prairie dogs from development areas. What’s the difference? I’ve not been able to get an answer on this at all.” -Karen Bigelow, Thornton City Councilmember
Despite the incident, Mary Ann Strauch has stated that she will continue to assist the turkeys and ensure their safety while crossing the road.
“When they cross these busy roads, particularly 124th or York, they are getting run over,” Mary said of the turkeys. “I wonder what happens when someone gets in an accident because of the turkeys?”
The National Wild Turkey Foundation reports that there are approximately 7 million turkeys in the United States and they inhabit 19,000 square miles of forest land in Colorado.
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Gallery Credit: Scott Clow