Orlando man accused of attacking Pinky the flamingo at Busch Gardens

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 03, 2016, 4:07 PM EDT

A family’s trip to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has resulted in the father going to jail after he allegedly attacked Pinky the Dancing Flamingo, according to Tampa officials.

  • Due to severe injuries, Pinky the flamingo had to be put down
  • Police say Joseph Anthony Corrao threw Pinky to the ground
  • Orlando man charged with aggravated cruelty to animals

Because of the flamingo's injuries, it had to be put down, the park said.

At about 6:44 p.m. Tuesday, Joseph Anthony Corrao, 45, was with his mother, brother and three teenage children at Busch Gardens’ Jambo Junction animal viewing area when, for some reason, he allegedly reached into an animal pen and picked up a flamingo, Tampa public safety information coordinator Stephen Hegarty said in a statement.

He set down that flamingo uninjured, police said, but then picked up a second flamingo. Other park-goers and Corrao's mother told him to leave the flamingos alone, police said.  

Witnesses told police that Corrao then threw the second bird — later identified as Pinky the Dancing Flamingo — to the ground, which nearly led to the severing of the bird's foot. Hegarty said that because of the “excessive force” of the attack, the flamingo had to be euthanized.


Joseph Anthony Corrao faces charges of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, after police say he attacked Pinky the Dancing Flamingo at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)

"Pinky was immediately transported to the park's Animal Care Center where veterinarians made the decision to humanely euthanize her based on the severity of her injuries," said Karen Varga-Sinka, publicity and communications senior manager for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. "Pinky 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."

The man accused of attacking Pinky was detained by park security and arrested by Tampa Police.

Corrao was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, and bonded out of jail Wednesday morning.

Below is a video of Pinky and how many will remember the dancing flamingo best.