Sheriff: Complaint over turkey drop at Arkansas festival remains at prosecutor's office


Photographs by Jason Ivester

A turkey falls from pilot Dana Woods’ 1959 Cessna 182B at the 2016 Turkey Trot festival in Yellville.

A complaint report seeking to halt “The Phantom Pilot” from dropping live turkeys this weekend in Arkansas remained at the prosecutor’s office, authorities say.

Marion County Sheriff Clinton Evans said Thursday afternoon that a deputy’s report was transferred from the sheriff’s office to the office of 14th Judicial Circuit Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge. Evans had not been made aware of updates in the review at that time, he said.

Ethredge could not be reached Thursday. An employee at Ethredge's office said the prosecuting attorney was not set to return to his office until Monday.

On Oct. 5, Rose Hilliard of Bruno filed a complaint about the decades-old event in which turkeys are traditionally tossed from a low-flying airplane during Yellville’s Turkey Trot festival.

Hilliard, who said a Facebook post hinted at the return of The Phantom Pilot this year, argued that “a crime is going to be committed” if authorities allow the turkey drop to happen.

If an investigation became warranted, the Arkansas State Police would be asked to review, Evans previously told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Bill Sadler, a state police spokesman, has said the agency normally doesn’t open misdemeanor criminal cases in the immediate jurisdiction of a local law enforcement agency.

Arkansas Code 5-62-103 states that cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine off up to $1,000.

Dana Woods, a Mountain View alderman and pharmacist, has flown for 15 years, including last year, as The Phantom Pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Woods did not violate its rules because turkeys were dropped over an area that didn’t cause damage to people or property on the ground. Animal cruelty accusations are out of its jurisdiction, the agency said.

Of the about a dozen turkeys dropped last year, two reportedly died on impact.

2016 Turkey Trot festival

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Bill Bowden contributed to this story.


DEE672 says...

You dimwitted neanderthals , stop this cruelty to living , terrified animals . What don't you understand???

Posted 12 October 2017, 4:48 p.m. Suggest removal

FayFan says...

Cruelty to animals is proudly defended as a "tradition" at this event, and Arkansas once again demonstrates its reputation as barbaric and degenerate.

Way to go, festival promoters and spineless public officials. Way to go.

Posted 12 October 2017, 5:27 p.m. Suggest removal

waw0063 says...

What else could it be but cruelty? It's not natural and it kills them. How would you like to be thrown out of a plane and told to fly?

Posted 12 October 2017, 8:28 p.m. Suggest removal

HM2 says...

These same liberal "dimwitted" idiots who gripe about turkeys being thrown out of a low flyng airplane, or chickens being killed to eat. Are the same jerks who support planned parenthood who kill babies to sell their body parts.

Posted 12 October 2017, 9:19 p.m. Suggest removal

FarmerBill says...

A little perspective here, please. "How would you like to be thrown out of a plane and told to fly?" How would you like to be ripped out of your mother's womb and told to die? "What don't you understand?"

Posted 12 October 2017, 9:44 p.m. Suggest removal

sjmays says...

You can't control another person's body. But you can prevent some maniac from throwing turkeys from a plane.

Posted 12 October 2017, 10:05 p.m. Suggest removal

FarmerBill says...

"You can't control another person's body" Huh? Isn't it control when a mom decides to choose life for her baby? And isn't it control when she decides to have her unborn baby killed by abortion? It isn't the moms body being destroyed. "What don't you understand?"

Posted 12 October 2017, 10:45 p.m. Suggest removal

PCSMITH says...

Everyone involved should be arrested for animal cruelty!!!

Posted 13 October 2017, 7:56 a.m. Suggest removal

fotl02061107 says...

What if the animals being dropped were puppies, would that change anybodies mines as to if this was animal cruelty or not?

Posted 13 October 2017, 9:13 a.m. Suggest removal

obbie says...

Bird is the word.

Posted 13 October 2017, 11:03 a.m. Suggest removal

Zepplin1 says...

how bout we drop low IQ rednecks from an airplane. problem solved because there would be no morons left to watch some pilot taking advantage of others stupidity dropping turkeys from a plane.

Posted 13 October 2017, 11:41 a.m. Suggest removal

DEE672 says...

Way to go, Zepp, could not have said it better myself. And why is it that so many MEN demand that women have unwanted babies that they cause? If men could get pregnant abortion would be a religious sacrament.

Posted 13 October 2017, 5:15 p.m. Suggest removal

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