A sad story has come out of Florida this morning, as one of the most cherished animals at the Busch Gardens theme park had to be euthanized. A family was on a trip to the theme park and it ended with a trip to jail for the father, who had reached into an animal pen, grabbed Pinky the dancing flamingo, and threw the animal to the ground.
The injuries sustained during the attack led to the flamingo needing to be euthanized.
According to My News 13, 45-year-old Joseph Anthony Corrao and his family were visiting the Jambo Junction animal viewing area in Busch Gardens on Tuesday evening. It was at that point that Corrao reached into the animal pen and grabbed Pinky the dancing flamingo out of its enclosure area.
Witnesses say they then saw Corrao throw the bird to the ground with an extreme amount of force.
— Sara DiNatale (@sara_dinatale) August 3, 2016
According to the Tampa Bay Times, an unnamed person did yell at him to put the bird down, but he would not listen. Corrao simply threw the bird as hard as he could to the ground as others stared on in horror.
Pinky was immediately taken to the animal care center in Busch Gardens’ park, where veterinarians attempted to treat her injuries. Unfortunately, the injuries were simply too severe and the decision was made to “humanely euthanize” her.
Busch Gardens did release a statement regarding the loss of one of their cherished animals.
“Pinky was a beloved member of the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay family and made many appearances on behalf of the park’s conservation and education efforts. She will be sorely missed.”
Corrao was detained by park security and then arrested by Tampa police. He was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a felony. He did bond out of jail on Wednesday on bail that had been raised from $2,000 to $5,000 by Judge John Conrad.
Joseph Anthony Corrao is facing a third-degree felony and aggravated animal cruelty charges.
On Monday, Corrao had posted on his Facebook page that he was going to a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game with his two sons. In the post, he mentioned that it was “all u can drink and eat free, i will be tepsy tonight.”
Friends and family members commented to him that he should try to behave when with his children and that he needed to make a “good impression” for them. At one point, Corrao commented back by saying, “I’ve never been to jail in Tampa.”
Past records from the Florida Department of Corrections do show he was convicted of a felony DUI, fleeing law enforcement, and aggravated assault on someone 65 years or older.
Flamingos don’t typically get close to people and will run away if they get too close to them. Pinky was different and wasn’t usually as afraid of those that visited her. The pen at Jambo Junction is designed so guests can walk up quite close to the animals.
Pinky got her nickname of “The Dancing Flamingo” from those at Busch Gardens who often saw her spin around in a circle and “dance.”
The loss of Pinky the dancing flamingo is one that has been very hard for the employees of Busch Gardens in Florida, and for park-goers, as well. The animal was very well known and loved by many people. Unfortunately, it was more humane to euthanize the animal than to allow it to suffer from its injuries, but that was a decision that had to be made after Joseph Anthony Corrao attacked and threw the bird to the ground.
[Image via Busch Gardens]