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Osprey Shot In Key West Euthanized

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

An osprey that was shot with a pellet gun in Key West in August was euthanized Thursday morning after a vet exam found "necrosis complications."

The bird's wing was broken in the Aug. 21 incident at Truman Waterfront on Key West harbor.

"The bone tissue at the fracture site was dying and was likely to cause system problems," Thomas Sweets, director of the Key West Wildlife Rescue, said in a statement Thursday.

The organization picked up the bird, transported it to the Marathon Veterinary Hospital at the time of the shooting and had been taking care of it after surgery.

Josiah Fetzer, 22, an employee of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham - a floating museum in the harbor-, faces two misdemeanor charges in Monroe County court : cruelty to animals and violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He faces a maximum penalties of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine on the first charge and 60 days in jail and a $500 fine on the second.

Ospreys are common throughout the U.S. The state considers them a species of special concern only in Monroe County, where there is a nonmigratory, resident population.

The floating museum's director, Bill Verge, told the Miami Herald in August that the shooting was a "freak accident" and that Fetzer was trying to scare the bird off the rigging, not harm it. Fetzer's case is next scheduled for a docket sounding Nov. 1, according to the Monroe County Clerk of Court's website.

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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