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'They're Worse Than Dogs. They're Dangerous': Wild Turkeys Taking Over In Toms River

Toms River, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Some residents in an Ocean County, New Jersey, neighborhood say they are scared to leave their home because of troublesome turkeys.

CBS2's Meg Baker checked out the bird battle.

One homeowner's video shows just how up-close and personal the wild turkeys can get. The turkeys in the video seem to be unafraid of two dogs.

Toms River Turkey Trouble
Wild turkeys have descended on Toms River. (credit: Maria Perez)

A flock of 20-plus large birds wander the Holiday City neighborhood's 55-and-over community in Toms River daily.

"It is a problem. You know, it really is. My mailman, if he was here, he said they're worse than dogs. They're dangerous," said resident Cindy Lijoi.

Our CBS2 cameras caught the flock commingling with ducks by a nearby creek, but photos show how the 20-plus pound birds can be dangerous, blocking traffic on Yorktowne Boulevard near Parisian Drive.

"They cause traffic problems because people blow horns at them and they don't pay attention. It means nothing to them," resident Don Kliem said.

Some residents feel threatened as they walk out their door.

"The other day, I went to come out of the house, and there were so many right by my car that I really didn't want to come out of the house," Lijoi said. "I've had them, some of the males have come after you, and then I just go back in the house."

Others say the turkeys have gotten a bad rap and enhance the Thanksgiving decor.

"One sat pretty close to me, staring at me. Just stared at me and then it walked away, never aggressive," one resident said.

"They come around, say hi," another resident said.

Animal Control officers recommend opening and closing an umbrella to scare off the turkeys.

"They don't like loud noises, so you can bang pots and pans together. You can run at them, they'll run away. One thing that sounds silly is one thing silly but open closing umbrella and walking towards them, they feel threatened, they leave. That's something that you have to keep doing though every time you see them at your house until they get the hint that they're not welcome," Barbosa said.

Toms River Turkey Trouble
Wild turkeys have descended on Toms River. (credit: Maria Perez)

The township has received dozens of calls about the wild turkeys, pecking at cars and coming too close for comfort, but animal control chief Richard Barbosa says his hands are tied.

"If an animal is sick or injured, be it domestic or wildlife, we can do something about it. We can come help that animal. These fall under nuisance wildlife and we are not allowed to trap wildlife. We're not allowed to relocate wildlife," Barbosa said.

State Fish and wildlife says it is looking into the situation with federal officials to see what can be done.

In other cases where wild turkeys have caused damage and become aggressive, they have been trapped and released elsewhere.

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