Students charged with felony for beheading birds

Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira 
By: John Roberts 

(Scroll down for video) Animal rights activists fought for a harsher punishment for animal abusers and they won. Until recently, abusing an animal was a misdemeanor, but now, under the new law, abusing an animal is a felony.

Two Berkeley law school students were arrested for beheading an exotic bird at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel's wildlife habitat in California. Their Berkeley student identification cards were found in their possession.

Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, both 24, were arrested after witnesses told police that the two men threw a dead bird, while joking about killing it.

When officers reviewed the surveillance camera, they saw Cuellar and Teixeira chasing the large bird, which was a 14-year-old helmeted guinea fowl bird. They chased the bird into trees and then emerged carrying the bird in two pieces, the body and the severed head.

"According to the security people, the men were laughing and joking about what they had done. Security had allegedly seen these men chasing the bird into a brushy tree area of that habitat and then coming out of that area with the bird in two pieces," Sgt. John Sheahan of the Metro Police said.

Animal rights activists are outraged over the incident, but they are glad that the pair was charged with a felony. They hope the pair gets a tough punishment for the crime against the bird.

Cuellar and Teixeira were booked into the Clark County Detention Center. They are facing felony charges of conspiracy, willful malicious torture and killing of wildlife.