A Malibu deputy arrested a 30-year-old transient male on Wednesday evening for choking a pelican to death using both hands around its throat.
While on patrol, a deputy from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station was flagged down by a witness near the Malibu Pier at 5:50 p.m.
The witness said a man, later identified as 30 year-old Suspect Sergio Alvarez, had a pelican by its throat and was choking it with both hands.
Witnesses told deputies the pelican flapped its wings in distress until its body went limp and died.
Witnesses directed the deputy to the suspect, Alvarez.
When the deputy detained Alvarez, he made comments regarding the pelican which led the investigating deputy to believe Alvarez had killed the pelican.
With the help of witnesses, the deputy was able to locate the dead pelican.
Based on the deputy’s investigation, Alvarez, a transient who frequents the Malibu pier area, was arrested for felony animal cruelty and booked at Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He is being held on $20,000 bail.
Personnel from the California Wildlife Center responded and took possession of the pelican.
Though California brown pelicans are no longer listed as endangered, they are still a fully-protected species in California.
California animal cruelty law is primarily described in California Penal Code Section 597.
There are basically two types of animal cruelty: intentional cruelty and negligent cruelty. Animal cruelty can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony with fines up to $20,000 and/or being sentenced to incarceration in state prison for up to three years, or in county jail for up to one year.