News Release, Maryland State Police- Ocean City
(OCEAN CITY, MD) – Thanks to tips from concerned citizens, state troopers arrested a Maryland man in Worcester County this morning who is wanted by Florida officials on a charge of animal cruelty.
The suspect is identified as William Hunter Hardesty, 31, of Riva, Md. He was arrested on a warrant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that charges him with animal cruelty to migratory birds and the intentional feeding of pelicans. He is currently being held as a fugitive in the Worcester County Detention Center.
Troopers arrested Hardesty shortly after 9:00 a.m. today at a hotel in the 12000-block of Ocean Gateway, in Ocean City, Md. He was processed at the Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack. Hardesty was taken before a court commissioner for a bond hearing and then transported to the detention center, where he will await extradition to Florida. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has been notified of the arrest and is initiating extradition proceedings.
A video showing a man in Florida luring and then jumping on top of a pelican in the water was posted on social media. Florida authorities investigated and obtained an arrest warrant for Hardesty.
Maryland State Police at the Berlin Barrack were contacted this morning by concerned citizens who said they believed the individual in the video was staying at the Ocean City hotel. Troopers were told the individual was bragging to them about being wanted for feeding and tackling a pelican in the Florida Keys.
Troopers confirmed the extraditable arrest warrant with Florida law enforcement. They responded to the hotel and, after identifying Hardesty, arrested him without incident.