TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The man accused of killing a flamingo at Busch Gardens remains in Tampa’s Orient Road jail. Joseph Corrao’s bond is set at $5,000.
Tampa police say Corrao, 45, is accused of picking up “Pinky” the Flamingo at the theme park and throwing her to the ground with such force, causing injuries so severe that she had to be euthanized.
Corraro, who is from the Orlando area, was visiting Busch Gardens on Tuesday. The event occurred in front of his mother, brother, three teenage children, and other witnesses.
He is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals. In Florida, that’s a felony charge with a prison sentence of up to five years.
Corrao has a lengthy criminal record, and has served three years in prison on convictions that include aggravated assault on a person 65 years or older, and animal cruelty. In 2013, Corrao was found guilty of killing a neighbor’s dog.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has more than 250 flamingos, but “Pinky” the Flamingo was very special. She was hatched at Busch Gardens in 1996, and made many appearances across the Tampa Bay area as an animal ambassador for the park’s conservation and education efforts.
On Wednesday, Busch Gardens released the following statement:
“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.”
SeaWorld and the Humane Society of the United States released a joint statement on Wednesday condemning the attack.
“SeaWorld will strongly urge prosecution in this case, and for any person who engages in this sort of cruel behavior towards animals,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Pinky was a beloved member of the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay family, and she will be sorely missed. Our Ambassador team members are appalled by this incident, and I am sure they share my view that our state must have a zero-tolerance policy for this kind of cruelty.”