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‘Very aggressive’ Staten Island turkeys may be relocated

STATEN ISLAND - Hundreds of turkeys roam the borough of Staten Island and now the problem may soon be a thing of the past;  plan is in place to round-up and relocate the birds.

City councilmember Steven Matteo, along with Speaker Corey Johnson, have allocated $100,000 in the budget to send them to And-Hof Animals, an upstate sanctuary for farm animals.

“Some of them are very aggressive and becoming a nuisance,” Matteo said. “We had to come up with a plan to find a place and get someone to relocate them humanely and then the funding and Speaker Johnson has been a great partner to work with.”

The turkeys have been seen running rampant in the East Shore neighborhoods of Staten Island.

“I have letters going back ten years dealing with turkeys, every time we thought we had a solution, we’d have to redouble our efforts,” Matteo said. “The number of turkeys has grown, probably more than doubled I’d say at this point there’s probably 200, 250 turkeys on the island.”

Frank Dinatale has lived in his Dongan Hills home for over four decades – but in recent years the turkeys have taken over the neighborhood.

“I’m on my third bag of grass seed. I just bought another bag today and you know they’re here because they leave droppings,” said Dinatale.

Dinatale says the turkeys are a nuisance and they’re affecting quality of life for him and his neighbors.

“We chase them all the time me and my neighbor we’re turkey chasers! This house here has a skylight. The turkey flies and the daughter screams because the turkeys are looking down as she’s getting dressed,” Dinatale said. "The turkeys go up the tree, another neighbor, he spent $300 to cut down a tree because of the turkeys."

Our PIX11 cameras caught the turkeys stopping traffic.

“They’re honking honking sometimes. I come out and I say 'stop honking.' The turkeys don’t hear. All they hear is their cackles. They don’t hear and this [honking] is constant,” Dinatale said.

The problem is borough wide, but the majority of them flock to this busy intersection of Seaview and Mason Avenues, right by Staten Island University Hospital.

“A lot of people still feed them, think they’re a nice attraction,” Matteo said. “When you’re living with them every day, they’re becoming a nuisance and they’re on your property, they’re climbing on cars and they’re expanding across Staten Island, they’re not just at the hospital.”

Matteo says the removal plan will likely go into effect this fall.

“They are aggressive, especially the males and they’re very stubborn. They’ll just stay there and look at you like 'who the hell are you'” Dinatale said. “They poop all over my kids play ball here. Next thing you know, they’re tracking them in to the living room. I won’t be sad to see them go.”