Saturday, March 23, 1985

Pennsylvania: Fifteen-year-old brat chunked a giant rock at a flamingo at zoo, severing its legs and killing it

PENNSYLVANIA -- A 15-year-old boy who allegedly threw a rock at one of the Pittsburgh Zoo's pink flamingos, severing its legs and prompting its death, was trying "to make that bird fly," police said yesterday.

The youth surrendered to police yesterday morning and was charged with criminal mischief, cruelty to animals and criminal trespassing, all misdemeanor offenses, said Officer Thomas Mahr.

The boy, who has not been identified because of his age, was detained at the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center until a hearing is held within 10 to 14 days.

The youth told police he threw a rock at an African Great flamingo because he wanted "to make that bird fly," Mahr said.

The rock severed the bird's legs, forcing zoo officials to put the bird to sleep because of profuse bleeding.

Mahr said the boy was one of a rowdy gang of seven boys and one girl, all about 15 years old, who raced through the zoo Wednesday afternoon and scaled a fence at the outdoor African waterfowl exhibit.

The boy was considered a suspect after all eight youths had been interviewed Thursday evening. Police do not plan to arrest the other youths, Mahr said.

Police tracked the youths from information they received from anonymous phone callers, local radio stations and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"One of the kids bragged about it to someone,"said Victor Foster, vice president of the Association for Animal Relief.

(The Morning Call - March 23, 1985)