MSP arrest man wanted in Florida on animal cruelty charges - 47abc

MSP arrest man wanted in Florida on animal cruelty charges - 47abc

Maryland State Police arrested a man Friday who posted a video of himself manhandling and jumping on top of a brown pelican at a Key West marina earlier this month.

The video shows him using a fish to lure the pelican closer to him as he stands on a dock.

Maryland State Police reportedly received tips that a man staying in Ocean City, Maryland, seemed to be the man in the viral video.

Hardesty "was arrested on a warrant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that charges him with animal cruelty to migratory birds and the intentional feeding of pelicans", state police said. Hardesty then appears to hold the bird above the water until it eventually strikes at his head and escapes.

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Maryland police will send Hardesty to the Keys where he will be booked into county jail on an $80,000 bond. The video was posted on his Facebook page days later. Those birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Florida state law, which ban even feeding the animal.

Hardesty was taken into custody without incident. 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.

Troopers apprehended the suspect, William Hunter Hardesty, 31, at an Ocean City, Md., hotel, a news release from the Maryland State Police said. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office was notified of the arrest and has initiated extradition proceedings.

Police obtained a warrant for Hardesty shortly after the investigation began.

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