A Maryland man who had a warrant out for his arrest in Florida for animal cruelty stemming from an alleged encounter with a federally protected pelican was taken into custody Friday morning, state police said. As the pelican gets close, Hardesty jumps on the bird in the water. A scuffle ensues, and onlookers laugh.
The Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack received several tips Friday morning from concerned citizens saying they believed the individual seen in the video was staying at a hotel in Ocean City. Those birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Florida state law, which ban even feeding the animal.More news: 49 killed in New Zealand mosque shooting
He then emerges from the water with two hands around the bird, which snapped at Hardesty's face with its bill before flying away. The tipsters added that the man had allegedly told them so much was true.
The Miami Herald reports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking into the video which shows 21-year-old William Hunter Hardesty trying to capture a brown pelican at the Key West Historic Seaport.More news: Phil Mickelson reveals he used college counselor tied to bribe scandal
Hardesty allegedly continued to post on social media about the run in with the pelican, according to the Sun.
Following his arrest, Hardesty was brought to the Worcester County Detention Center and is waiting to be extradited to Florida, police said. The campaign pledges to donate half of the funds to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, but does not specify what the remaining $10,000 would be used for.More news: Neil deGrasse Tyson Cleared in Sexual Misconduct Probe, Will Return to TV
Florida authorities investigated and obtained an arrest warrant for Hardesty.