A Maryland man wanted in Florida for an apparent attack on a pelican was arrested in Ocean City Friday morning.
The Monroe County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office got an arrest warrant for 31-year-old William Hunter Hardesty after a video of a man jumping off a dock and landing on a pelican March 7 in the Florida Keys was posted on social media. Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said the bird nipped at Hardesty and got away unharmed.
Maryland State Police received a tip Friday morning about a man at an Ocean City hotel bragging about being wanted for feeding and tackling the pelican, police said.
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Troopers arrested Hardesty without incident on the warrant charging him with animal cruelty to migratory birds and intentional feeding of pelicans, police said. He is awaiting extradition to Florida.
After the post, outraged viewers quickly noticed Hardesty lists JW Frew Electric as his employer on Facebook. The business received a slew of negative reviews and messages, but the business says Hardesty hasn't worked there for almost four years.
At Hardesty's home in Davidsonville, Maryland, his father said he's received threatening phone calls since the viral video of his son. He said his son is a fisherman and would never do anything to hurt a pelican.