SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering an additional $20,000 towards a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for attacking and mutilating dozens of brown pelicans on the coast of Orange County. The reward is now $25,000.
The reward increase comes as two more dead birds were reported since the initial $5,000 reward was announced.READ MORE: LA County Supervisor Signs Executive Order Requiring All County Employees Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19
Along the coastline from San Clemente to Huntington Beach, 34 brown pelicans have been found with broken wings since October 2020.
Recently, a pelican was discovered with a twisted wing and bones protruding. Most pelicans did not survive, and those who did needed emergency surgery and long-term care.
Officials believe the injuries were inflicted purposefully. The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center is providing rehabilitative care to the pelicans and is working closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on investigating this matter.READ MORE: CBS2 Investigates: E. Coli Bacteria Levels In Echo Park Lake Higher Than State Water Quality Standards
A veterinarian from a local wildlife hospital in the region suspects that a person may be responsible for harming the pelicans due to the consistent types of fractures that have been found on the animals.
“This infusion of funds added to our initial reward reflects the severity of harm to the pelicans found mutilated in Orange County and mounting pressure to find answers,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We are hopeful that the local community will come forward with information in order to prevent further harm to these animals”
In California, the maximum penalty for maliciously and intentionally maiming or mutilating a living animal is a fine of up to $20,000 or up to three years imprisonment or both.MORE NEWS: Daily COVID Cases Top 3,700 In LA County; 12-Year-Old Child Among New Deaths
If you have information related to the attacks of these pelicans, please contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-888-334-2258 (1-888-334-CalTIP). All tips will remain anonymous.