PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (FOX 13) - Someone is shooting ducks with darts in Pinellas Park, according to police.
The Pinellas Park Police Department said a few ducks have been shot with "crossbow-style darts" near 66th Street and 121st Avenue.
Police released photos of an injured Muscovy duck, showing a roughly 6-inch-long arrow piercing its chest area.
While FWC does permit people to "humanely euthanize" this kind of duck if it’s on a person’s property and there is no identifiable owner, the city of Pinellas Park has other rules in place.
The city of Pinellas Park is a bird sanctuary. Under chapter five, section 102 of the city of Pinellas Park's code of ordinances, it's illegal to "trap, hunt, shoot, or molest" any bird or to rob their nests.
"If you feel there is a nuisance bird, you have to go to city hall, you have to speak to the city manager, and then we have to find ways to abate the nuisance," explained Sgt. Lonnie Lancto with Pinellas Park PD. “This was an intentional act. This was not humane euthanization.”
One of the ducks is now rehabilitating at Birds in Helping Hands in Seminole, with pain relievers and other medications. They say he's strong and feisty, which is a good sign.
“We are going to release him to somebody who owns a farm and they have an enclosed pen so animals can't get to them and they can’t wander off so people can shoot at them or run them down,” said Birds in Helping Hands Director Shelley Vickery.
According to the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, more than 100 cities in the sunshine state have similar ordinances on the books.
Regardless of the ordinance, Muscovy ducks, like all animals, are protected from cruel treatment under the state of Florida's anti-cruelty statute (828.12). Shooting an animal with an arrow and leaving it to die could be considered a crime under this state law.
Anyone who knows who may be responsible for shooting ducks in Pinellas Park is asked to call 727-369-7864 and ask to speak with Officer Skinner.
Anyone who witnesses someone shooting a duck should call for help right away, police said.