Woman offers $15K reward for missing turkey as Thanksgiving looms

Woman offers $15K reward for missing turkey as Thanksgiving looms

There’s a pretty payout for anyone who can help get this bird home for the holiday.

Ariana Huemer, who runs Santa Cruz, California-based animal sanctuary Hen Harbor, is so desperate to bring one of her turkeys home for Thanksgiving that she’s offering thousands to anyone who can help her find the bird.

Last week, the group posted a $15,000 reward for the return of the turkey, named Kaley, “no questions asked.”

“She is likely in Northern California, and may be in the company of two other gray, similar-looking turkeys,” Huemer told Triangle News. “Kaley is distinguishable by her love of kale, affinity for small chickens and a distinct ‘beard’ on her chest (unusual in female turkeys).”

Huemer was separated from Kaley in August when the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter unlawfully seized 300 of Hen Harbor’s healthy birds — including Kaley. A hearing eventually determined that Huemer deserved her birds back, but Kaley was not returned — she’d been given to a farmer who raises turkeys and chickens for slaughter. Later, the story changed: Kaley had been killed by a predator, the sanctuary was told. But they maintain hope this isn’t true — and that the bird may still be alive, so her child can be reunited with its mother.

“If she did not actually die by a predator but was sold, as we believe, we want to save her life and time is running out,” said Jerry Friedman, Hen Harbor’s attorney. Kaley’s baby, said Huemer, “looks and waits for her everyday.”

If Kaley is still alive, the upcoming holiday is especially perilous to her continued existence. “With Thanksgiving looming, she is in grave danger,” said Huemer.

The reward likely makes Kaley one of the most expensive turkeys in North America — but the sanctuary is hopeful it will ensure her return ahead of the turkey-eating day of thanks. “The reward amount was decided upon based on the urgency to save her life from what we fear is her murder for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Friedman, adding that Hen Harbor’s caretakers develop emotional relationships with all of their residents and “their value is beyond measure.”