Chicken dispute in Atwater boils over

A police scandal makes people in even the smallest town head for their corners and then come out swinging.

In Atwater, Minnesota, the beheading of a boy’s pet chicken by police chief Trevor Berger sent about 60 people to the City Council meeting last night, the West Central Tribune reports.

“We can fix this,” said Berger, as many in the crowd of about 60 residents applauded.

That’s a far cry from his comments to the paper after he destroyed the chicken over concerns from a neighbor.

“I guess I don’t regret it, because it’s like taking care of any rodent in town,” he said.

Last night’s meeting revealed that Atwater isn’t a town for chickens.

But many at the meeting not only expressed strong opposition to allowing chickens in town, they also voiced support for Berger and the action he took to dispatch the chicken that was being kept in town against the current city ordinance.

Much of the criticism wasn’t directed at Berger for decapitating the chicken with a shovel, but against homeowner Ashley Turnbull, who filed the complaint against the police chief.

“This is nothing more than bullying,” screamed one woman, referring to Turnbull’s complaint.

Others said Turnbull caused the problem by having chickens in the first place, not getting rid of them when she was warned to do so by police and for letting the hen get out of its pen.

Turnbull has removed remaining fowl from her property. Her neighbor, Mark Olson, has sent a rabbit he was keeping packing.

Olson is Atwater’s mayor.

Related: Debate: Chickens should be able to roost in residential areas (Minnesota Public Radio News).