KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – A Maryland man who jumped on a state and federally protected pelican and then bragged about it on Facebook through a video was sentenced to 90 days in the Monroe County Detention Center.
William Hardesty, 31, was found guilty of four charges April 23 in Monroe County Court.
Hardesty entered an open plea before County Court Judge Mark Wilson who found him guilty of two counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and two counts of animal cruelty.
Lieutenant Joshua Peters with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission brought the charges after investigating after becoming aware of the Facebook postings.
Hardesty will be given 40 days credit for time served, have to pay a $1,000 find and spend a year on probation.
The video was posted to Hardesty’s Facebook page the first week of March and apparently created March 5th. It shows him at a Key West sea wall dangling food to the pelican. It then shows him jumping into the water onto the pelican and grabbing it and holding onto it. He let go only when the pelican bit him in the face.
The Facebook post of the video, met with widespread criticism, was followed by Hardesty posting he might want to eat a pelican and that he was thinking of getting a pelican tattoo.
Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Koenig issued an arrest warrant for Hardesty on March 13th and, acting on a tip, Maryland State Police arrested him on March 15th at a hotel in Ocean City, Maryland.