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Jesup man arrested for allegedly beating protected birds in Florida

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Paul Flauncher

Paul Flauncher

MARCO ISLAND, Florida (KWWL) - A man from Jesup, Iowa has been arrested for allegedly violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by beating seagulls with a shovel in Florida.

The Marco Island Police Department in southwest Florida said in a press release they received reports of the incident over six months ago on November 5th, 2021, and had been looking for the suspect since.

Paul John Flauncher, 30, from Jesup, turned himself in last week and is charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty. 

NBC2, the local NBC affiliate in southwest Florida, reports that police said Flauncher was luring the birds with food and then swinging the shovel at them. The group was allegedly cheering him on, witnesses told police. 

One of the seagulls that was struck by the shovel had a broken wing that led to the bird being euthanized.