Maryland man wanted in Florida arrested for animal cruelty

He bragged about jumping on a pelican in Key West. Maryland troopers bust him. | Miami Herald

Man Who Allegedly Jumped on Protected Pelican in Florida Arrested in Maryland

News outlets report the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated the video of Hardesty trying to capture a brown pelican at Florida's Key West Historic Seaport.

The Maryland man who allegedly posted video of himself jumping on a federally protected pelican in Florida has been handcuffed in Maryland.

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Maryland state police said they made an arrest Friday after being told a man was bragging that he was wanted in Florida for "tackling a pelican".

Maryland police will send Hardesty to the Keys where he will be booked into county jail on an $80,000 bond. The video was taken March 5 and posted on his Facebook page March 8. He has been charged with animal cruelty to migratory birds and the intentional feeding of pelicans.

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A video of the Florida incident shows a man apparently offering a fish to a pelican. Hardesty then appears to hold the bird above the water until it eventually strikes at his head and escapes.

Maryland State Police at the Berlin Barrack were contacted this morning by concerned citizens who said they believed the individual in the video was staying at the Ocean City hotel. The paper reported that he allegedly started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $20,000, pledging to donate half the money to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center. "Troopers confirmed the extraditable arrest warrant with Florida law enforcement".

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Those folks called the police, and Maryland troopers arrested him at the hotel at 9 a.m., according to a Maryland State Police press release. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office was notified of the arrest and has initiated extradition proceedings.

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