A Florida man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly reached into the flamingo enclosure at Busch Gardens Tampa and smashed one of the birds to the ground so badly that it had to be euthanized.
The situation was all the more tragic for the theme park after officials revealed the animal in question was no ordinary bird — it was the resident "diva extraordinaire" Pinky, the dancing flamingo.
Joseph Corrao, 45, of Orlando was on vacation with his family when he allegedly injured Pinky so severely that veterinarians at the park decided the only humane course of action was to put her down.
"Today, is a very sad day at Busch Gardens," said Busch Gardens spokesperson Karen Varga-Sinka said in a statement. "Pinky liked to dance and when she was getting the attention she wanted, she would start dancing in circles. She was the sweetest thing."
The statement went on: "She was a beloved member of the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay family and made many appearances on behalf of the park's conservation and education efforts. She will be sorely missed."
According to police, multiple witnesses described Corrao reaching into the pen and grabbing Pinky. He was first detained by park staff before police arrived and made an arrest.
Corrao was charged with felony animal cruelty, according to Tampa police.
At a court hearing Wednesday, the judge told Corrao “I don’t know who does that, I really don’t. I don’t relate to that, mentally on any level."
Corrao was released Wednesday on a $2,000 bond, according to the Associated Press.