Indiana man accused of whacking seagull with shovel on Clearwater Beach

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – An Indiana man is charged with animal cruelty after Clearwater police say he hit a seagull with a plastic shovel, injuring the bird.

Police say 39-year-old Blake Shock was feeding seagulls along Gulfview Boulevard in Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m. Tuesday when it happened. According to the arrest report, once the birds came in close enough, Shock began swinging the shovel at them.

Investigators say he hit one of the birds and it fell to the ground. Witnesses told detectives once the bird was on the ground, he struck it again. The injured bird eventually flew away on its own.

“Well, I had hoped they would go away,” said Shock, with his wife and two boys by his side in their Clearwater hotel room. “After I tried to whack them, I hoped they would go away. Somebody swipe at you, you’d go away too, right? “

But witnesses were capturing video of the incident and turned it over to police. Officers say it’s never a good idea to feed wild birds at the beach. And they say it’s certainly not a good idea to swat at them with a shovel.

Police department spokesman Rob Shaw says Shock had plenty to say to officers when they arrived.

“He had any number of excuses. He was afraid of them. He was just having fun. It was no big deal,” said Shaw. “He was basically trying any number of things to tell our officers he didn’t really think it was a big deal. “

Shock admits he didn’t think his actions would lead to his arrest.

“I’m thinking, what is this all about?” said Shock. “There’s no signs posted for anything, I didn’t kill the bird. The bird is good. It’s fine. It’s gone.”

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