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Man bit head off pigeon, police say

CHARLESTON, W.Va. --  A Charleston man was arrested Friday after police watched an Internet video of him picking up a pigeon and biting its head off at the KRT Transit Mall.

Charleston Police Officer Steve Petty Jr. cited Wesley Amos Williams, 48, with charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty and improperly disposing of an animal carcass after recognizing him from the video.

Petty, who patrols the Transit Mall, became aware of the incident when an animal rights activist distributed fliers seeking his identity.

Petty said he recognized Williams from previous run-ins with police and picked him up at the Transit Mall Friday afternoon.

Williams was cited, released and ordered to come back for an Oct. 3 hearing in Charleston city court, Petty said.

The 18-second YouTube video apparently depicts a shirtless Williams bending down to pick up a pigeon from a flock resting near Laidley Street. Williams then bites the head off the bird, tosses it's carcass onto the street and wipes the taste from his mouth. 

An unidentified man, watching with a group of people to the side, apparently paid Williams to perform the stunt, Petty said.

"He said he used to bite the heads off chickens all the time and he needed five dollars for beer money," Petty said.

The video had been viewed about 500 times by Friday evening.

If convicted of the animal cruelty charge, Williams faces no more than one year in prison and a fine not exceeding $3,000. He faces a fine up to $1,000 if convicted of the improper disposing charge.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.


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