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story.lead_photo.caption A turkey falls from pilot Dana Woods’ 1959 Cessna 182B at the 2016 Turkey Trot festival in Yellville. - Photo by Jason Ivester

A complaint report seeking to halt “The Phantom Pilot” from dropping live turkeys this weekend in Arkansas remained at the prosecutor’s office, authorities say.

Marion County Sheriff Clinton Evans said Thursday afternoon that a deputy’s report was transferred from the sheriff’s office to the office of 14th Judicial Circuit Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge. Evans had not been made aware of updates in the review at that time, he said.

Ethredge could not be reached Thursday. An employee at Ethredge's office said the prosecuting attorney was not set to return to his office until Monday.

On Oct. 5, Rose Hilliard of Bruno filed a complaint about the decades-old event in which turkeys are traditionally tossed from a low-flying airplane during Yellville’s Turkey Trot festival.

Hilliard, who said a Facebook post hinted at the return of The Phantom Pilot this year, argued that “a crime is going to be committed” if authorities allow the turkey drop to happen.

If an investigation became warranted, the Arkansas State Police would be asked to review, Evans previously told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Bill Sadler, a state police spokesman, has said the agency normally doesn’t open misdemeanor criminal cases in the immediate jurisdiction of a local law enforcement agency.

Arkansas Code 5-62-103 states that cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine off up to $1,000.

Dana Woods, a Mountain View alderman and pharmacist, has flown for 15 years, including last year, as The Phantom Pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Woods did not violate its rules because turkeys were dropped over an area that didn’t cause damage to people or property on the ground. Animal cruelty accusations are out of its jurisdiction, the agency said.

Of the about a dozen turkeys dropped last year, two reportedly died on impact.

2016 Turkey Trot festival

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Bill Bowden contributed to this story.

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Comments

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  • DEE672
    October 12, 2017 at 4:48 p.m.

    You dimwitted neanderthals , stop this cruelty to living , terrified animals . What don't you understand???

  • FayFan
    October 12, 2017 at 5:27 p.m.

    Cruelty to animals is proudly defended as a "tradition" at this event, and Arkansas once again demonstrates its reputation as barbaric and degenerate.

    Way to go, festival promoters and spineless public officials. Way to go.

  • waw0063
    October 12, 2017 at 8:28 p.m.

    What else could it be but cruelty? It's not natural and it kills them. How would you like to be thrown out of a plane and told to fly?

  • HM2
    October 12, 2017 at 9:19 p.m.

    These same liberal "dimwitted" idiots who gripe about turkeys being thrown out of a low flyng airplane, or chickens being killed to eat. Are the same jerks who support planned parenthood who kill babies to sell their body parts.

  • FarmerBill
    October 12, 2017 at 9:44 p.m.

    A little perspective here, please. "How would you like to be thrown out of a plane and told to fly?" How would you like to be ripped out of your mother's womb and told to die? "What don't you understand?"

  • sjmays
    October 12, 2017 at 10:05 p.m.

    You can't control another person's body. But you can prevent some maniac from throwing turkeys from a plane.

  • FarmerBill
    October 12, 2017 at 10:45 p.m.

    "You can't control another person's body" Huh? Isn't it control when a mom decides to choose life for her baby? And isn't it control when she decides to have her unborn baby killed by abortion? It isn't the moms body being destroyed. "What don't you understand?"

  • PCSMITH
    October 13, 2017 at 7:56 a.m.

    Everyone involved should be arrested for animal cruelty!!!

  • fotl02061107
    October 13, 2017 at 9:13 a.m.

    What if the animals being dropped were puppies, would that change anybodies mines as to if this was animal cruelty or not?

  • obbie
    October 13, 2017 at 11:03 a.m.

    Bird is the word.

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