A 34-year old man from Jacksonville Beach, Florida was arrested on an animal cruelty charge after multiple witnesses saw him ‘intentionally’ striking at swans at a public park, and laughing when he realized he was attracting attention.
Buzzfeed reported that Rocco Joseph Mantella was found by multiple witnesses kicking “as hard as he could” some swans and a duck, with Orland police recording witnesses who said it looked like he was “practicing karate.”
Witnesses provided a sworn statement to police that they saw Mantella laugh and continue to harrass the animals when he realized people around him were watching and reacting.
He was then taken to Orange County jail for a charge of animal cruelty and held on a $1,000 bond.
There was no mention yet whether Mantella was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if police suspected a mental problem of any sort.
The report added that fortunately, none of the animals seemed to have sustained any serious injuries from Mantella’s actions.
“An area check for the swans that were attacked was conducted but we were met with negative results,” Buzzfeed quoted the investigators’ report.
There is a myth surrounding swans that because of their expansive wing span, they are strong enough to cause injury to an adult man, but if that was what Mantella was attempting to test out, then he probably should’ve just stuck to reading about swans in books.
Most scientists agree that swans can get aggressive when their nests are threatened and will use their expanded wings, as well as honking, charging, and puffing up their chests to try and scare off intruders.
While it is a fearsome sight, it’s mostly just “for show and bluster. They are not that strong,” to cause great injury to an adult human, according to a story on BBC.