GARDEN CITY, Mich. – A suburban Detroit man who found himself facing fines after a wild turkey moved into his overgrown backyard has made friends with the large bird.
Garden City bans residents from keeping wild animals as pets. The city fined Mark Johnston $100 for harboring the turkey and another $100 for dumping brush at his curb after he cleaned up his backyard in an effort to get the 30-pound turkey to leave.
The city eventually dismissed the turkey ticket since Johnston wasn’t keeping the animal as a pet, the Detroit News reported. Johnston is still fighting the other one.
Meanwhile, the turkey remains in Johnston’s yard. Johnston said that as far as he’s concerned, the bird can stay as long as he wants.
“I have no kids. I’m in the middle of a divorce. I have no one at home,” said Johnston, 45, a tow truck driver. “He kinda keeps me company. It gives me something to come home to.”
Johnston previously hunted turkeys but said he’s given it up, considering his backyard guest.
Johnston’s neighbors don’t seem to have a problem with the turkey, which they said isn’t too noisy.
“It’s crazy. (But) if the turkey likes it and the guy likes it, leave them alone,” said neighbor Sandi Canning.
Wild animals can only be moved if they’re a nuisance or a threat, said Holly Vaughn, a spokeswoman for Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife division.
“He’s not holding it captive,” Vaughn said. “Technically, it’s a wild turkey and is free to go where he wants.”
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.