Joseph Corrao's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jessica Russ, filed a competency motion a day earlier noting concerns that the Orlando man is mentally ill and may be incompetent to continue toward trial. At issue is whether he understands and is able to participate in court proceedings.
Russ said her office had been working with doctors in Orlando to try to schedule psychological examinations. For reasons that are unclear, that did not happen. The office is instead working to have two Tampa doctors examine Corrao.
Circuit Judge Tom Barber told Russ to make sure Corrao shows up to the appointments.
"If he doesn't, he may go to jail and he will be examined in jail," Barber said.
Corrao, 45, who is free on bond, did not attend the 9 a.m. hearing. He is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, stemming from the death of Pinky, a beloved pink flamingo that served as one of Busch Gardens' animal ambassadors.
Corrao was visiting the Tampa theme park with his family Aug. 2 when he reached into an animal pen, grabbed the bird and slammed her to the ground, police said. Her leg nearly severed, Pinky was later euthanized.
Pinky's death was met with sorrow and outrage across Tampa Bay. Police arrested Corrao, who posted $5,000 bail a few days later. His next hearing is Feb. 17.
Corrao has THREE DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTIONS and was also arrested and charged with a previous allegation of ANIMAL CRUELTY.