As the lead agency in Tuesday’s torture killing of George the Duck, a favorite on the River Walk, Animal Care Services will begin its investigation by examining the surveillance video from the Original Mexican Restaurant.
Restaurant staff said it shows the duck being strangled, stomped on and kicked, carried off by his neck and tossed back into the San Antonio River, by two men (seen at bottom) who allegedly recorded everything on their cell phones.
Vincent Medley, ACS assistant director, said the surveillance video could be a helpful starting point in the investigation, but more is needed.
“The reality is that we’ve got to be able to gather evidence to support what we believe happened,” Medley said.
He said animal cruelty investigators also will interview witnesses.
Medley said it is hoped the images of the two suspects are shown nationally in case they’re not from San Antonio.
He said a necropsy will confirm the manner of George’s violent death.
Based on what’s been described so far, Medley said, “That’s torture under the Texas state penal code that addresses animal cruelty.”
He said it is state jail felony that carries a maximum sentence of two years.
Jessica Alderson, an urban biologist with the Texas Parks & Wildlife, said George was not a purebred Muscovy duck, originally found in Mexico, Central and South America.
She said if he had been, Muscovy ducks are protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so his death would have been a federal crime, but only a misdemeanor violation that carries a $550 fine.
Alderson said she verified through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, George was a hybrid between a Muscovy and a domesticated duck, judging by his abundance of white feathers.
She said most Muscovy ducks are brownish-black in color with iridescent green and purple plumage on their back with white patches.
Many on locals and visitors on the River Walk expressed their outrage over his death, stopping at a memorial adorned with floral arrangement and candles.
Robert Meister, a visitor from Mexico City, said karma will take its course in time.
“You do something like that to a little sleeping duck that’s not hurting anyone, it’ll come back to you definitely,” Meister said. “So if anybody knows anything, please turn these guys in.”
ACS asks the public to call 311 with information.