A man residing in Port St Lucieon the east coast of Florida, was arrested and charged with brutally torturing and killing a blue heronwhich he cut off the legs, stabbed and sliced the neck in front of his children at home, local media reported this Wednesday.
The incident occurred last Sunday, when Eugene Fritz, 67, was spending a day fishing and returned home with a live blue heron that he had injured while trying to capture it, after it ate its bait.
It was Fritz’s wife who called the police and explained that they had argued before her husband went fishing, returned with the injured bird and then brutally tortured and killed it, the local WPTV channel reported.
Interviewed by agents, Fritz’s sons said their father brought the wounded blue heron (a protected species in Florida) home, where he cut off its legs, stabbed and slashed its throat in front of them.
The woman told police officers that her husband had vented his anger on the bird for eating his fishing bait.
Fritz was charged with the crimes of “aggravated animal cruelty and cruelty to a child” due to the emotional damage of witnessing the death of such an animal.
Cindy Dionne, director of the animal care organization Treasure Coast Wildlife, said this type of violence against wild animals is not unheard of in this part of Florida.
“There is no reason to harm these animals. They are not a threat, they are just trying to catch their food,” Dionne said.
Blue herons are one Threatened species which is federally protected by the US Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
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