Joseph Anthony Corrao faces animal cruelty charges for torturing Flamingo
“Pinky,” a famous, people-friendly flamingo at the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay park, was euthanized after a man reached into the park’s flamingo pen, picked Pinky up, and slammed her to the ground, the Tampa Bay Timesreports. Her injuries were so severe she would not have lived.
A police report on the incident said witnesses saw Joseph Anthony Corrao attack Pinky and the man allegedly ignored people yelling at him to put Pinky down. “According to witnesses, he threw the bird to the ground with such force that the bird’s foot was nearly severed,” the report elaborated.
It’s not unusual for people to approach the flamingos in their Busch Gardens pen; the exhibit is set up so the flamingos can walk up to visitors, “but usually if you put your hand out, they’ll run away,” theme park enthusiast and writer Bill Androckitis told the Times. Pinky, however, was more accustomed to humans because she’s been around them more often than she’s been around birds and most likely did not try to flee at first.
Corrao, 45, is a convicted felon. He has been to prison for a total of three years in the past for aggravated assault on someone 65 years or older, a felony DUI, and fleeing law enforcement.
A statement from the park on Pinky’s death explained:
Yesterday evening at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, an adult male guest attacked one of our animal ambassadors, a Chilean flamingo known as Pinky, causing traumatic injuries.Pinky was immediately transported to the park’s Animal Care Center where veterinarians made the decision to humanely euthanize her based on the severity of her injuries.Pinky was a beloved member of the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay family and made many appearances on behalf of the park’s conservation and education efforts. She will be sorely missed.
In 2011, the below video of a then-19-year-old Pinky dancing the “flamingo flamenco” went viral. “Pinky loves to dance for our guests!” the caption reads: “Her keepers say that this is not a trained behavior, but a natural behavior she loves to show off.”
Corrao was detained by Busch Gardens security and remains at the Hillsborough County Jail on a $2,000 bail, the Times reports. He faces felony and animal cruelty charges.