Allegedly a man jumped into the water and began attacking a brown pelican in Florida was arrested on charges of animal cruelty on Friday, March 15, 2019.
According to police, William Hunter Hardesty, 31, was arrested by Maryland State Troopers at an Ocean City hotel the day after the warrant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission charged him with committing animal cruelty to migratory birds and the intentional feeding of pelicans.
Hardesty posted a video on his Facebook page on March 7, 2019. In the video, he is seen “luring” over the water near the edge of a harbor in Key West and then “jumping on top of a pelican in the water,” stated by Maryland State Police.
The brown pelican, which is a species protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Florida state law, nipped at Hardesty and flew away without harm.
The clip went viral, which means it has been viewed more than 130,000. In the video, Hardesty can be seen laughing as he held the brown pelican before a woman warned him to get out of the water before she called the police.
Many people on social media condemned Hardesty, saying he was a “punk” and that he was “cruel.”
Hardesty wrote back in the comments, “Next time ima eat him for dinner!! Wonder what they taste like.”
Other users were reporting the video to law enforcement.
Maryland and Florida authorities said they had received several calls from “concerned citizens” who stated Hardesty was “bragging” about “tackling a pelican.”
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said, “I shared the anger of those who contacted me regarding this video. This type of behavior – the abuse of animals – will not be tolerated on my watch.”
By Jeanette Smith
NBC News: Man accused of attacking brown pelican charged with animal cruelty
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