After a day of failed fishing, Sergio Alvarez was homeless and hungry in Malibu last month when he says he did what millions of red-blooded Americans do every year when they want some food: He killed a bird in order to eat it. What Alvarez didn't know is that while the type of pelican he strangled to death wasn't endangered, it was on the protected species list. The 30-year-old Alvarez was arrested on the spot, and now he's going to jail for two months after pleading no contest to misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Los Angeles County suffers with a homeless population of more than 50,000 individuals, according to a study from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released last year. And for those tens of thousands of people on the streets, L.A. has about 12,000 shelter beds in total, leaving about three times that to fend for themselves in search of cover and food each night.
Obviously, it makes sense that we can't have any destitute or unhinged person slaughtering local fauna at will for dinner. But there's something sinister about a hungry man pushed to his limits going to jail for trying to feed himself in one of the last ways available to him. It's almost like the part in Robin Hood when Sir Guy of Gisbourne tries to arrest Much for poaching the king's deer.
[Image via the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department]