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Hungry transient gets jail time for choking pelican to death

California brown pelicans fly over the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes.

A 30-year-old transient pleaded no contest Friday to choking a brown pelican to death because he "was hungry" and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, prosecutors said.

Sergio Alvarez was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Jessica Silvers to one year of probation and 60 days in county jail following his plea to a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty to a bird, Deputy Dist. Atty. Sandi Roth said.

Witnesses flagged down an L.A. County sheriff's deputy about 5:50 p.m. near the Malibu Pier on Aug. 22, saying that a man -- later identified as Alvarez -- had a pelican by its throat, authorities said.

“He said he was hungry. [He said] he found the bird dead and was going to eat it,” sheriff's Sgt. Michael Holland said at the time. Alvarez had insisted the pelican was already dead. 

The witnesses said the pelican seemed to be flapping in distress until it went limp, deputies said.

The California Wildlife Center took the body of the dead pelican.


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-- Richard Winton

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Photo: California brown pelicans fly over the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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