A 49-year-old Bunnell man with a recent history of mental disabilities faces a felony charge of animal cruelty after killing a parrot that had been in his family for 48 years, and threatening to do harm to other pets and family members in the household. The man was initially turned over to a psychiatric ward in Daytona Beach before being booked at the Volusia Branch jail. He will face criminal charges in Flagler County.
The incident took place the evening of on Sept. 26. The man, R.D.W., was staying with his father on Oak Street in Bunnell, along with his father’s companion and several pets in the household. A woman called 911 to report that R.D.W. was acting “off the wall” after starting to act strange earlier that afternoon. R.D.W. was walking around the house so belligerently that his father was worried he might hurt someone.
The family kept a 48-year-old parrot in a cage in the kitchen. The bird’s owner had raised it since it was a chick. Certain parrots can live up to 60 years, especially when well cared for. According to his arrest report, R.D.W. took hold of the bird’s cage, smashed it to the ground, stomped on its heavy iron bars, then grabbed the parrot harmfully enough that its owner heard it screeching before R.D.W. “ripped its head off causing its death.” Leaving the bird’s head in the kitchen, the man then dropped the body of the bird in front of its owner, as if taunting her. The owner was hiding in a closet as she called 911.
R.D.W. then asked his father where the dog was, saying he wanted to kill the dog, too. Along the way he smashed out a bedroom window, harming himself. His father kept trying to calm him, but R.D.W. persisted, making “homicidal statements” about family members and friends, and telling his father that he would be removing his eye (his father’s eye) later that evening, because it did not look right. It was around then that deputies arrived. He was standing in the front of the residence with what was believed to be blood on his right arm and abdominal area, a sheriff’s release states. He was yelling incoherent statements and resisting deputies attempting to secure him for safety. They Baker Acted R.D.W.
He had had a similar evaluation on Sept. 21. He’d been treated and released. His father told deputies on Sept. 26 that he feared that if they’d not shown up at the time they did, his son would have seriously hurt or killed someone.
“This was a sad and scary incident for everyone involved,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “This is also an example of how situations can escalate to more dangerous crimes and this behavior could be a warning sign that there may be more going on with this guy. He needs professional help before he escalates further.”
The State Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed two charges against R.D.W.: Felony cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony, and assault on a person 65 or older, a first-degree misdemeanor. It is likely that his competency to proceed with trial will be an issue in coming court proceedings.
The following resources are available for individuals in crisis:
In Flagler: The Crisis Triage and Treatment Unit (CTTU) is a crisis assessment and referral service for Flagler County residents experiencing behavioral health crisis. It is located at 301 Justice Lane in the Brown & Brown Outpatient building at the Vince Carter Sanctuary in Bunnell. This program is limited to individuals escorted to the program by law enforcement between the hours of noon and midnight daily. Law enforcement is able to transport individuals to SMA to assess and determine the appropriate clinical disposition. When required and appropriate, SMA then transports the individual to a receiving facility in Volusia County.
In Daytona Beach: Stewart-Marchman Act Corporation Crisis Center
1220 Willis Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Crisis Line: (800) 539 – 4228
Available 24 hours.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800/273-8255 (TALK), or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat, both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255.
People 60 and older can call the Institute on Aging’s 24-hour, toll-free Friendship Line at 800-971-0016. IOA also makes ongoing outreach calls to lonely older adults.