Fowl Crime: Florida Man Accused Of Using Karate On Swans In Public Park

downloadRocco Mantella, 34, is accused for being a menace to swans after being allegedly seen in public parks practicing his karate on the birds.  He has been banned from two Florida parks and charged with cruelty to animals for what witnesses say is a pattern of kicking swans as well as a sleeping duck.Witnesses say that Mantella was hitting the swans “as hard as possible.” The accounts led to his arrest by Orlando police on a charge of felony aggravated animal cruelty.  He is now banned from two parks in Orlando.

Below is the Florida statute. Note the special provision for lassoing the legs of a horse:


828.12 Cruelty to animals.

(1) A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, commits animal cruelty, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

(2) A person who intentionally commits an act to any animal, or a person who owns or has the custody or control of any animal and fails to act, which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, commits aggravated animal cruelty, a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

(a) A person convicted of a violation of this subsection, where the finder of fact determines that the violation includes the knowing and intentional torture or torment of an animal that injures, mutilates, or kills the animal, shall be ordered to pay a minimum mandatory fine of $2,500 and undergo psychological counseling or complete an anger management treatment program.
(b) A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be required to pay a minimum mandatory fine of $5,000 and serve a minimum mandatory period of incarceration of 6 months. In addition, the person shall be released only upon expiration of sentence, is not eligible for parole, control release, or any form of early release, and must serve 100 percent of the court-imposed sentence. Any plea of nolo contendere shall be considered a conviction for purposes of this subsection.
(3) A person who commits multiple acts of animal cruelty or aggravated animal cruelty against an animal may be charged with a separate offense for each such act. A person who commits animal cruelty or aggravated animal cruelty against more than one animal may be charged with a separate offense for each animal such cruelty was committed upon.
(4) A veterinarian licensed to practice in the state shall be held harmless from either criminal or civil liability for any decisions made or services rendered under the provisions of this section. Such a veterinarian is, therefore, under this subsection, immune from a lawsuit for his or her part in an investigation of cruelty to animals.

(5) A person who intentionally trips, fells, ropes, or lassos the legs of a horse by any means for the purpose of entertainment or sport shall be guilty of a third degree felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this subsection, “trip” means any act that consists of the use of any wire, pole, stick, rope, or other apparatus to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance, and “horse” means any animal of any registered breed of the genus Equus, or any recognized hybrid thereof. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply when tripping is used:

(a) To control a horse that is posing an immediate threat to other livestock or human beings;
(b) For the purpose of identifying ownership of the horse when its ownership is unknown; or
(c) For the purpose of administering veterinary care to the horse.
History.s. 4, ch. 4971, 1901; GS 3395; RGS 5244; CGL 7363; s. 2, ch. 70-50; s. 4, ch. 71-12; s. 949, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 82-116; s. 2, ch. 89-194; s. 5, ch. 94-339; s. 1286, ch. 97-102; s. 26, ch. 99-391; s. 35, ch. 2000-308; s. 1, ch. 2002-51; s. 1, ch. 2013-245.

9 thoughts on “Fowl Crime: Florida Man Accused Of Using Karate On Swans In Public Park”

  1. Here is one of the stupidest examples of cultural relativism and accusations of privilege in the entire world:

    In this article, the author claims that charro organizations no longer actually trip horses. Apparently, this journalist did not take the trouble to actually go to an event. He actually believed that this was how cowboys caught horses for branding or medical care. This would be true only if the cowboys are idiots. A horse with a broken leg is worthless as a riding animal. You would never, ever, purposely trip the horse your life depending upon to be able to ride. That is not how horses are roped. Again, this reporter did not trouble to ask any ranchers or vets if this was how you handle equine stock. Nor did he ask why calves are roped and what’s the difference. There is a header and a heeler to rope calves. You do not trip them over and over again until they break their legs because, again, they would be worthless as livestock. You cannot raise cattle to market if they all get broken legs every time you handle them. That’s just stupid.

    Then, the author went into the tu quoque false logic. Yes, absolutely, there are abuses in rodeo. There is room for improvement. In no way is a girl running barrels similar to tripping a horse and breaking her legs. They already have legislation to try to prevent abuse at rodeos. Should charros be exempt to make the SJWs feel better?

    Not every culture on Earth is the same. They are all different. Some of those differences are beautiful, and some are ugly. The US and Great Britain are nations where animals enjoy a high level of love in our culture. There are those who despise animals, but the culture as a whole values pets. Not all countries feel that way. In no way am I tempted to pretend I don’t find animal abuse vile because it might offend the perpetrator. I don’t have any say over what people do in other countries, but I do have a vote about how things are done in my country. I would never, ever support horse tripping for any reason. Only 9 states ban it. I think the other 41 need to get right with this. We do not change our culture to accommodate others, not when it comes to animal abuse. They must assimilate with us and follow our laws.

  2. The inclusion of lassoing the legs of a horse is because “horse tripping” is a well-known charro sport. Charros are the Latino version of the cowboy, and they have a reputation for being especially brutal to their animals. I am obliged to add that there must be someone, somewhere, who actually is a good horseman and a charro, but I’ve never met or even seen one. They like to use big spurs, huge shank bits to crush their horse’s mouth, to keep the freaked out horses from taking off, lots of metal and decoration on their exhibition saddles, and they like to make their horses dance. That last is a violent approximation of piaffe. They tie their horses up and then either cane or whip their legs so that they mince and prance in place. To get more action on a gated horse, they will chain or cane their knees to make them snatch their legs higher. One of their sports is horse tripping, where they loose a galloping horse and then rope their hind legs. The horse either breaks something and gets put down, or is often lamed forever. Horses are emphatically not pets or partners to the charros, and their broken down mounts go pull overloaded trash carts in Mexico. There are some charros who would emphatically argue that they treasure their horses, but if they engage in any of the behavior listed above, I would call that an abusive relationship.

    Please note that horse tripping is not illegal in all 50 states, the last I checked.

    Testosterone poisoning does not belong in any job working with animals.

    I am very sorry to hear about the attacks on the swans and the duck. Birds have hollow bones. How badly were they injured? If he kicked them as hard as he could, then they might be dead. I wish the story had some note about the health of the birds. Glad he will be prosecuted, but banning him from the parks may not be successful. Unless they have security checking everyone at a controlled entrance, it’s quite difficult to exclude an abusive person. What a psychopath.

    1. I wanted to add to the above comment that the reputation of charros are so bad, that if someone says a horse has been charroed, it automatically indicates to everyone that he is a traumatized, probably dangerous, probably unsound, wreck who is suspicious of people and has a hard mouth, probably with nerve damage. It is extremely difficult to bring a horse back from that. And with horse tripping, the horse may never be rideable again.

  3. I wonder if there’s a Florida statute against punishing someone like Rocco Mantella, who committed acts of cruelty against animals, such as tying up his spread arms and legs to stakes in the ground, slashing cuts to induce moderate bleeding from his arms legs and torso, and then inviting a flock of vultures to a two and a half-hour afternoon meal?

    Or, perhaps, something more Biercian. . .

  4. The lassoing of horses legs comes from Mexican arenas where it was common until it was banned. It was finally decided it was cruelty to the horses.

  5. He should hire Michael Cohen: a great lawyer with an upstanding clientele.

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