Turkey tortured and killed at KU fraternity party, Lawrence police say

Chapter suspended indefinitely

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A live turkey was allegedly tortured and killed at a University of Kansas fraternity party, according to the Lawrence Police Department.

Police were called out to the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at 1425 Tennessee Street on reports of animal cruelty Friday night. Officers say the live turkey was initially kept in a cage, where it had been poked and heckled. Witnesses told police that it was eventually freed from the cage, and was chased and abused by several partygoers.

After it was seriously injured, someone then allegedly killed the turkey to "end its suffering."

"The turkey was injured, intentionally or unintentionally, and this went on for some time, so we believe some individuals tortured the animal," Sgt. Trent McKinley said.

The national organization of Beta Theta Pi has suspended the KU chapter indefinitely pending an investigation.

Lisa McKenzie told 41 Action News her band was hired to play at the party, which she said was called the 129th Annual Turkey Pull. While the turkey is normally kept in a cage on the front porch, she said this year was different.

"About seven guys kicked the cage in, then they spent 45 minutes throwing it around like a basketball. They broke its wing. They carried it by its legs. One was squeezing its neck," McKenzie said. "I tried, but they wouldn't give it to me. It ended when they took it out to the porch and wrung its neck."

Ryan O'Grady told 41 Action News he is president of the fraternity. He said the reports of animal cruelty are false.

"I am aware of the story, but that is not what happened," he said. "I deny everything."

No arrests have been made. Police say they will send the case to the Douglas County District Attorney's office to determine if charges will be filed.

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