Tim the turkey is a wake-up call

Patti Williams

Patti Williams, Orange High School agriculture teacher

By Patti Williams, Orange High School agriculture teacher

Each morning, when I arrive at Panther Farm at Orange High School, I am greeted with calls from a donkey and a turkey named Tim. Since Sunday morning, I have not been greeted.

Tim, our 5-year-old American Heritage Slate turkey, was taken and used as entertainment for a Chapman student house near our school. He did come back to us for a short time, only to find that he sustained several injuries from the torture he endured while at this house. He has since been in a veterinary hospital under close observation in hope his body can heal the damage that was done.

He was taken and abused by two Chapman students and countless others who looked on as he was tortured in the name of “fun.” This unimaginable act of animal cruelty has left me speechless. I have tried very hard to keep the anger and my emotions at bay and be professional during this awful week. When I see this gentle and friendly animal that is loved by so many, in the condition he is in, it makes me want to scream. Scream at this horrific act. Scream at lack the integrity of those who watched. Those who won’t stand up for what is right and not sit back in support of these two men and the laws they have broken.

But enough about Chapman students.

Through all this, my focus, other than Tim, is a special group of people who have been deeply affected by this. These are my amazing students – the ones who work every day with Tim and all of our animals. They come at 7 a.m. every morning, I mean every morning – Christmas, holidays, vacations, summer etc. – and come back at 3 to 5 p.m. They feed, clean, exercise, groom, care for and love these animals. These are the young men and women of Orange High Agriculture Department. These 14 to 18-year-olds are dedicated, responsible and compassionate with more integrity that anyone I know.

These are my students and they are having a hard time understanding this. We spoke this morning in class. Some of the things they spoke about were fear – fear for the safety of their animals, fear of retaliation from the friends of the men who were arrested for this, fear for Tim and whether he will live or die and the saddest thing is the fear of Chapman students in general. What a statement, that these high school students are fearful of college students and what they have shown they are capable of. I am at a loss for words.

With that being said, I hope this has been a wake-up call for us as a community comprised of residents, high school and college students and animals. A wake-up call that tells us that cruelty in any form is unacceptable. It is my hope that these men and all those involved are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and Chapman disciplinary policies. My thoughts go out to the parents and families of these men and to the Chapman community as a whole, perhaps this wake-up call will teach compassion, responsibility and to do what is right.


  • As a student here at Chapman I am disgusted at the lack of respect for life that these students displayed. The majority of students at this wonderful school are caring and respectable citizens within the community. We simply want the necessary freedom to enjoy ourselves in a reasonable manner. People like these students are the reason why we have zero respect within the community and this display of idiocy will show up in community relations meetings for years to come. Mistakes happen and for some reason this may have seemed like an innocent prank at the time, but there is no excusing this act. Thank’s for compromising the future relations between Chapman and the community as well as undermining the efforts of both the University and students to act as decent neighbors.

  • Glad I graduated when I did. Seems like admissions at Chapman have taken a nose-dive, kowtowing to the basest form of SoCal Douche Bro in hopes of sucking up some of their daddies’ money for grants. Hopefully Chapman can correct this and start expecting a higher echelon of applicants.

  • I agree with the comments. Chapman SHOULD up its admissions standards, starting with the “concerned student” above as an example. It is amazing how many in the public are willing to form an opinion on this subject after only hearing one side of the story. As a neighbor of the “Turkey house”, I have spoken to the students involved. No one denies the kids borrowed a turkey without permission. But the question of abuse is the fantasy of a deranged OC High teacher. OC Animal Care picked up the turkey and their press release said it was fine. The teacher also agreed it was fine except it was wet….see her numerous statements in the press. The kids told Animal Care they had dripped water on it while waiting for Animal Care, because it was so hot, and that is what they read they were supposed to do to properly care for it. Several days later, the Orange HS teacher’s story changed. Suddenly there was ‘beer poured all over the turkey, and it had been kicked, beaten and its feathers cruelly pulled out.’ Why didn’t Animal Care know about this? BECAUSE IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. Take a look at the pictures of the turkey on the school’s FFA site which were taken before Turkey-gate. The bird is already missing most of its feathers.

    You all need to watch 30 for 30 “Fantastic Lies” before you ignorantly spout off, especially in writing! Panther Online Writers: you should be ashamed.
    BTW concerned students and Panther “guest columnist”; I am man enough to include my name.

    • Jackson Taylor, You claim two students at the “Turkey house” simply ‘borrowed a turkey without permission’ and that Orange High teacher Patti Williams is ‘deranged.’ I suggest that you avoid the temptation to ‘ignorantly spout off.’ Your rationalizations and accusations are laughable. I am impressed that you are ‘man enough’ to include your name. Wow.

  • “It is amazing how many in the public are willing to form an opinion on this subject after only hearing one side of the story” – Jackson Taylor (Man)

    Jackson (Man), as your neighbor, what they did is inexcusable and inarguably disgusting.

    Regardless of the particulars of how they treated the poor animal while in their “care,” they committed theft of an animal by force (i.e., animal cruelty). As such, hearing the “other side of the story” isn’t necessary right now.

    I’m hoping the Dean of Admissions does the right thing and expels these children; they aren’t wanted in our community and do not represent the kind and bright students I see everyday walking onto campus. Your fellow Chapman students deserve better.

    Lastly, “borrowing a turkey” ??? Grow up, Jackson. The days of “Animal House” antics aren’t cute anymore.

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