The Maryland man who was filmed jumping on a pelican in Florida’s Key West and wanted on animal cruelty charges has been detained back in his home state.
William Hunter Hardesty was arrested at a hotel in Ocean City, Maryland, on Friday. He will be extradited to Florida.
William Hunter Hardesty from Davidsonville, Maryland, posted footage on his
‘The third and only successful attempt Mr. Hardesty makes to capture a brown pelican is the one posted on his Facebook page,’ a warrant for his arrest states, according to the
Hardesty faces charges of animal cruelty, illegally feeding a pelican and capturing a protected migratory bird. His total bond is set at $80,000.
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William Hunter Hardesty was arrested at a hotel in Ocean City, Maryland, on Friday
William Hunter Hardesty posted footage on his Facebook page on March 7 after jumping into water in Key West and appearing to attack a federally protected pelican
‘He’ll be arrested on the charges in the warrant and he’ll be formally charged at an arraignment when he comes before the court,’ Monroe State Attorney Dennis Ward said.
The video, posted on March 7, shows Hardesty leaning over a harbor’s edge holding out something in his hand.
Hardesty will be extradited to Florida
The brown pelican floats closer and Hardesty jumps into the water on top of the pelican, causing both to sink beneath the water’s surface.
Hardesty then grabs the large bird with two hands while others not pictured on camera can be heard laughing.
A woman in the background yells at him: ‘If you don’t get out of there right now I’m going to call security. Knock this party off right now.’
The bird is visibly distressed and as Hardesty holds onto it, his friends continue laughing at the spectacle.
The pelican then snaps at the man with its beak before flying off.
Social media users blasted the stunt on Hardesty’s Facebook page, branding it cruel and stating they had reported him to Florida law enforcement.
March 7 footage shows Hardesty, (left) , first reaching into the water with something in his hand before jumping in and landing on top of the bird, (right)
Hardesty, (left), is seen laughing as he holds the pelican while it tries to flee from his grasp
The pelican then snaps at the man’s face in a bid to escape and is eventually able to fly away
A post from Hardesty on Friday read: ‘The book blowin up on a Friday !! Sheesh.’
Dennis John Deevy Jr wrote: ‘We need to get a petition to have this MF charged.’
Another person claimed: ‘Can you spell J-A-I-L ????.
Sherry Zmmerland Frolich wrote: ‘Idiot!! I do hope you serve time. I also hope that smack in the face left a mark … a BIG one.’
Hardesty was wanted for animal cruelty charges, illegally feeding a pelican and capturing a protected migratory bird. His total bond is set at $80,000
The investigative department of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the incident.
‘We never want to harm wildlife, and that’s what he was doing,’ said Officer Bobby Dube, a spokesman for the commission’s Florida Keys division. ‘He was enticing the pelican and then jumped on it.’
‘The third and only successful attempt Mr. Hardesty makes to capture a brown pelican is the one posted on his Facebook page,’ a warrant for his arrest states
Dube said the footage appeared to take place at the Key West Seaport and features a brown pelican.
That species is protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Florida state law, which prohibit people from feeding or molesting the bird, he said.
Police responded to the robbery incident at a bar called in Crofton, Maryland.
Police found two men hiding behind a dumpster and the victim identified them as his attackers.
Hardesty and Eugene George Morris III, 24 at the time, of Edgewater, were later arrested.
Hardesty was charged with robbery, second-degree assault, theft, destruction of property and resisting arrest.