A Warren County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree animal cruelty after law enforcement became aware of a video of him biting the head off a live baby bird.
Bradley Heard, 29, of Rockfield, was ordered by Warren District Judge Brent Potter to pay a $500 fine and $154 in court costs. Heard was also given a 12-month probated sentence and ordered to commit no new offenses.
Second-degree animal cruelty is a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $500 for Class A misdemeanors.
After accepting the guilty plea and imposing the fine, Potter admonished Heard to act more responsibly. “Start using that brain a little bit more,” Potter said. “Think about these choices.”
The video that led to the charge against Heard was posted on YouTube on June 3 by a person whose YouTube account shows no other recordings.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office became aware of the clip in September via employees of the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society, according to a report prepared by Deputy Robert Boyden.
The 45-second clip shows a man outdoors biting the head off a bird in the opening seconds and walking toward the camera with the head in his mouth.
The bird’s body and head end up a few feet from each other in a gravel driveway as the camera pans over both parts.
Near the end of the clip, as the camera lingers over the bird’s headless body, a man’s voice can be heard saying, “That’s just awful, Bradley.”
Boyden was able to identify the person who bit the bird’s head through comments made during the video, following the poster’s information on YouTube.
Boyden obtained additional information from the humane society and contacted the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife due to the bird apparently not being domesticated, but the department said it would not handle the case unless the bird was an endangered species or protected animal, according to the report.
In October, Boyden and another deputy interviewed Heard, who admitted biting the bird’s head during a get-together at his apartment.
“Heard stated that some wild birds had moved into the eaves of his porch and their loud chirping was bothering him,” Boyden wrote. “Heard stated he reached into the nest, grabbed a bird and bit its head off without thinking about it.”
Heard was asked during his interview with the deputies whether he had been drinking at the time, and Heard said he was so drunk that he did not realize the video had been recorded or posted online, according to the report.