Bad-news bird arrested, jailed

Charleston County's most colorful jailbird was a difficult capture.

Since her death, he'd been upset, irritable, restlessly roaming the neighborhood looking for something; he did not know what.

So yeah, he did it, he knocked down a kid, hurt him a little. And then, after a two-hour police chase, they nabbed him. They pulled out the water hoses. Then, back of the paddy wagon for the trip to Jailbird City.

Sometimes being a peacock is the pits.

On Monday night, Charleston County Animal Control hauled the brightly colored bird into the Charleston Animal Society. Booked and stuck in a cage, the peacock, of a McClellanville address, now has a police record.

And, like everybody else in the pen, he has a pretty sad story.

"Its mate had passed away," explains Kay Hyman, director of outreach and community services at the Animal Society. "The man felt like he couldn't take care of it any more, so he gave it up. If someone is going to keep peacocks, they need to have more than one."

The peacock and his hen had lived with a couple near Awendaw. After the woman passed away, her husband could not bear to part with the birds. Then the peahen died. The man did not know how to keep the remaining bird happy or home.

So it began roosting all over the place. During mating season, peacocks can become aggressive, particularly if they don't have a mate. When he knocked down a small child, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office got involved. The owner paid the medical bills and conceded to police that it was time to get rid of the bird. But not before the low-speed chase, peacock running, cops on its tail.

Deputy Valarie White with the Animal Control division of the Sheriff's Office said the peacock had flown the scene of the crime and was holed up on top of a house. Firefighters used water to persuade the bird to come down, and then a two-hour chase through the woods and neighborhood yards ensued.

It took a lot of people to finally cage the bird.

"Some members of the community helped," White said.

The toddler suffered only minor injuries, police say. Officers do not release the identities of minors who are victims of crime.

Hyman says the bird is being released, the charges dropped. Debi Chard, a local television news anchor, is adopting the bird and giving it a home at her plantation, where there are 14 of the brightly plumed birds in residence.

There, perhaps he can start anew, find a home, perhaps another mate and a permanent place to roost.

And hopefully he'll never have to worry about the cops on his tail ever again.