Sheriff’s Office Nabs PETA Award for Rescuing Pelican

Thanks to Deputies' Actions, Bird Entangled in Fishing Line Made It to Rehabilitation and Is Expected to Recover

For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Anna Maria Island, Fla. – A Compassionate Police Department Award is on its way from PETA to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in honor of deputies’ rescue of a pelican on February 23. When deputies reported to the scene, they spotted the pelican in the tide, with a fishing line wrapped around the beak and wing and a fishing hook in the mouth—so Deputy Parkinson waded into the surf, wrapped the pelican in a towel, and brought the bird back to shore, where she and Deputy Kiernan worked together to remove the fishing line.

They waited with the pelican until Friends of Wildlife Inc. arrived. Wildlife rehabilitators have been able to remove the fishing hook and treat the pelican’s wounds, and the bird is expected to make a full recovery.

“If these kind deputies hadn’t intervened, this pelican likely would’ve drowned when the tide came in,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes this pelican’s narrow escape will inspire everyone to keep an eye out for abandoned fishing equipment—and untangle, wrap up, and safely dispose of any lines or nets they see.”

PETA notes that fishing is devastating not only to fish, who endure agonizing deaths when impaled by metal hooks, but also to other wildlife, who can become ensnared in and be strangled to death by carelessly discarded fishing line and other gear.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office will receive a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan cookies.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind