Updated: 09/03/2014 6:03 AM
Created: 09/03/2014 5:57 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
A south-central Minnesota police chief says he has apologized to a 5-year-old boy for beheading his pet chicken.
Atwater Police Chief Trevor Berger told The Associated Press he didn't know the chicken was a pet when he killed it with a shovel Saturday, Aug. 16.
According to a complaint filed by the boy’s mother, Ashley Turnbull, Berger arrived at the home on a report of a chicken at large. The homeowners had previously been told they were violating a city ordinance by keeping the chicken.
Berger found the bird roaming free in the backyard and tried to get the chicken back into its coop but couldn't, according to the police report. Berger says he was concerned it was a public health issue.
The chicken was then killed on the scene as the boy watched.
Ashley Turnbull said in the complaint that she was not home and not contacted before Berger killed the chicken with a shovel. She also says the head and feathers were left behind. She says her neighbors notified her of the incident, and she filed a formal complaint with the Atwater Police Commissioner on Aug. 20.
Berger says Phoenix and Ashley Turnbull accepted his apology on Tuesday. Berger says he still plans to propose allowing chickens within city limits at Wednesday's City Council meeting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.