The Humane Society of the United States strongly condemns the attack on a flamingo named Pinky at Busch Gardens in Tampa and will urge authorities to pursue the case with vigor.
An Orlando man was arrested for picking up and throwing Pinky to the ground, and the flamingo was so badly injured that she had to be euthanized.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said in a statement, “People who abuse animals often don’t stop there, and pose a violent risk to the rest of society. That’s why we’ve worked to fortify the legal framework across the country to punish malicious animal cruelty as a serious offense.”
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, which owns Busch Gardens, also issued a statement. “SeaWorld will strongly urge prosecution in this case, and for any person who engages in this sort of cruel behavior towards animals,” SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said. “Pinky was a beloved member of the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay family and she will be sorely missed. Our Ambassador team members are appalled by this incident, and I am sure they share my view that our state must have a zero-tolerance policy for this kind of cruelty.”
Joseph Anthony Corrao, 45, on Aug. 2 was visiting Busch Gardens with his mother and his three teenagers when he reached into a pen and picked up a flamingo, according to a police report.
Police said Corrao put the bird down and then picked up another flamingo.
After his mother told him to leave the birds alone, he picked up Pinky and threw the bird to the ground hard enough to nearly severe a foot.
Corrao was detained by park security until Tampa police arrived to make an arrest.
Park officials said Pinky was euthanized because of the traumatic injuries.
"A very sad and hard day for us here," park spokeswoman Karen Varga-Sinka said, according to the AP.
Corrao made a first appearance in court on Aug. 3.
His criminal record includes a conviction of aggravated assault on a person 65 years or older, felony DUI and fleeing from a law enforcement, the AP reported. Corrao served three years in prison for the assault.
Pinky was a 19-year-old Chilean flamingo that hatched at the park.