Md. man wanted for tackling pelican in Florida arrested in Ocean City hotel room

A Maryland man wanted on animal cruelty charges in Florida after he was seen tackling a federally protected pelican on video was arrested by Maryland State Troopers in Ocean City Friday morning.

William Hunter Hardesty, 31, of Riva, Maryland, is being held at the Worcester County Detention Center where he is awaiting extradition to Florida on charges of animal cruelty to migratory birds and the intentional feeding of pelicans.

Maryland State Police said troopers were tipped off about Hardesty’s whereabouts after other guests at the Ocean City hotel he was staying at said he was “bragging” about being wanted by the police for the pelican incident.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began investigating after video posted to Hardesty’s Facebook page appeared to show him jumping into the water at the Key West Historic Seaport and manhandling a brown pelican.  The video was taken March 5 and posted on his Facebook page March 8.

Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward told The Miami Herald the charges against Hardesty amount to five misdemeanors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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