Angler faces pelican cruelty charges

He allegedly stomped on seabird’s beak.

March 24, 2010|By Joseph Serna

A Perris man is scheduled to appear in court Friday on charges he attacked a pelican on the Newport Pier last week when it tried to steal his catch.

Daniel Richard Moreno, 19, will be in court Friday for a pre-trial hearing after pleading not guilty last week to misdemeanor animal cruelty. Police said that at about 3:30 p.m. on March 14 Moreno was fishing on the pier and set one of the fish he caught on the ground next to him.

That’s when a pelican standing on a nearby building’s roof swooped down and tried to grab Moreno’s fish, authorities said.

Police said Moreno stomped on the pelican’s beak. An online posting from a local rescue shelter said he also kicked it in the head.


The stomp left a 33 to 36 centimeter “hairline fracture” from the bird’s nose to the end of the beak, said Debbie McGuire, director for the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, where the pelican is recovering.

The fracture drew blood from the bird, police said. Moreno left the area after the alleged attack but witnesses who reported it pointed him out to police, officials said.

McGuire said the bird is a protected species and Moreno will probably have to deal with the Department of Fish and Game on top of the criminal charges he’s already facing from Newport Beach police.

“This 19-year-old kid in his rage has really stirred up a lot of trouble for himself,” McGuire said.

Moreno’s public defender did not return a call for comment.

A fractured beak is a life threatening injury for a pelican because they dive into the water from up to 60 feet in the air to catch fish, McGuire said. The beak will take about a month or so to completely heal, she said. The pelican is eating but not flying yet.

For more information on the bird’s recovery go to the recovery center’s website at or find the center on Facebook.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles