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Citrus Heights PD: what we’re doing about wild turkey complaints

*Note: The Sentinel reached out to the police department for an opportunity to respond to a guest column on wild turkeys. The department responded with the following statement, published in its entirety.

Submitted by Police Commander Jason Russo–
Since May 2012, the Citrus Heights Animal Services Unit has been committed to providing affordable, compassionate animal services to the citizens of Citrus Heights. 

Jason Russo

Citrus Heights Animal Services Officers specialize in handling domesticated animals. Wildlife differs significantly from domesticated animals, and proper handling often requires a specialized skillset pertaining specifically to wildlife. 

Recognizing that domesticated animals and wildlife often coexist in the city, citizens with specific wildlife needs have historically been directed to private wildlife trapping services.

Our Animal Services Officers recently noticed an uptick in wildlife-related inquiries from our citizens, and in response to this need we have just entered into a cooperative services agreement with Sacramento County that allows us to offer wildlife services through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  

The Federal Wildlife Trapper specializes in wildlife-related services.  However, even the Federal Wildlife Trapper has constraints on the manner in which they engage with certain protected wildlife.

View: Police post Thanksgiving Day video of wild turkeys in Citrus Heights 

For example, wild turkeys are federally protected wildlife, and a depredation permit must be obtained from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife before these animals can be legally removed from their environment.  Additional information specific to Wild Turkeys can be found at the CDFW website.

As a city, we are committed to assisting our citizens with their animal and wildlife-related needs, however, with regards to federally protected wildlife additional steps will need to be taken by the affected citizen. 

We can empathize with our citizens who are experiencing frustration posed by wildlife.  We are committed to assisting in any way we can to mitigate the problem, recognizing that some of these unique situations involving protected wildlife may require a more complex solution that is in accordance with federal law.

We empathize with Mrs. Norine’s frustration with the turkeys and want the public to know the challenges and legal issues surrounding the growing number of turkeys she has experienced. We have worked with her, we were responsive. Recently we even reached out to schedule a meeting with the Department of Fish and Game on her behalf to assist with a depredation permit. 

While we wish these solutions can be resolved quickly, the reality is, it often takes problem solving, partnerships, and multiple resources to find the best solutions and stay within the legal boundaries.

To read the original guest column being responded to, written by resident Cheryl Norine, click here: GUEST OPINION: Wild turkeys in Citrus Heights are out of control

Want to share your own thoughts about turkeys or another local issue? Submit a letter to the editor or opinion column for publication: Click here

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