WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A South Florida man faced a judge Tuesday after state wildlife officials accused him of abusing a bird on Florida’s threatened species list.
Michael Bochicchio, 31, of Palm Beach Gardens, is accused of torturing a sandhill crane. He faces two misdemeanor counts and one third-degree felony count.
West Palm Beach ABC affiliate WPBF reports that Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers arrested him Monday after witnesses said he chased down a sandhill crane near Military Trail in Jupiter, grabbed the bird by its neck and began to remove its feathers.
Witnesses told officers they tried multiple times to stop Bochicchio from removing the feathers, according to a FWC report obtained by the station.
Bochicchio held the bird’s feathers in front of a witness’ face asking if they wanted to keep them, according to authorities.
Bochicchio faced a $1,000 bond, jail records show.
In addition to its placement on the Florida threatened species list, the sandhill crane is also protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to FWC.