Betty White the chicken, a “beloved” hen and internet star, in Australia died when an alligator ate it after being thrown into the reptile’s den. The accused person behind the incident is Peter William Smith from the town of Singleton in New South Wales. According to reports, the 57-year-old man snatched Betty White from its enclosure in an animal sanctuary and threw it into an alligator pen.
Evidence against the Singleton man is based on shocked witnesses, including families, who reportedly saw the alleged incident at Oakvale Farm and Fauna World. Local authorities accused Smith of throwing the chicken in front of the onlookers at the popular wildlife park located in New South Wales. It is unclear why Betty White was specifically selected by the perpetrator.
Alligators are known for eating almost anything, including chickens and other livestock since these crocodilians are carnivorous. In captivity, alligators are often fed with raw meat such as those coming from chickens. In recent years, related incidents from different parts of the world had surfaced on the internet with some becoming viral on social media.
Betty White The Chicken Death
Following the death of the silkie hen, Oakvale Farm’s owner Kent Sansom stated that the park’s management and staff were saddened by the fate of Betty White the chicken, based on a released statement as reported on Monday, February 5. This is also the first time in 43 years that a member of the public apparently engaged in animal cruelty, according to Sansom.
The park owner adds Betty White was hand-raised in the enclosure and served a significant role in Oakvale’s endangered species breeding program by providing surrogacy to chicks. Furthermore, the famed chicken’s quiet nature, as seen with customers carrying animal pellets, made her an easy target for people with bad intention.
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Animal Cruelty Case
Latest reports surrounding the incident show Smith plans to plead not guilty to the charges against him, specifically one count of aggravated animal cruelty. This is according to a high-profile defense lawyer Brian Wrench, who told Magistrate Justin Peach that “this is an allegation about an alligator eating a chicken.”
Based on reported court documents, the local police said Smith carried out aggravated animal cruelty on “a silkie bantam chook” at a time between 2:57 p.m. and 3:10 p.m. at Oakvale Farm and Fauna World in Salt Ash on January 2. In line with the animal cruelty case, Peach ordered the police to prepare evidence against the defendant by March 4 and adjourned the case on March 18.
In August 2023, it was reported that the animal rights body Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in Western Australia found an 11% increase in animal cruelty reports across Australia over the past year. Between 2022 and 2023, RSPCA received 7,126 cases of animal cruelty reports, with a common factor attributed to the cost-of-living crisis.
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