FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - A man turned himself into police Sunday, June 18 after reportedly killing a seagull with a baseball bat.
He reportedly hit the seagull in the head as it was flying over Folly Beach. A tourist found the bird and took it to Pet Helpers, an organization that tries to protect animals.
Workers at Pet Helpers were unable to save the bird. The seagull reportedly suffered a broken wing and died from head trauma.
The suspect 32-year-old Louis Hoppmann III, turned himself in the day after the incident and is being charged with animal cruelty under South Carolina state law 47-1-40 Section A. The crime is considered animal cruelty because the suspect "knowingly or intentionally...inflicted unnecessary pain or suffering on the animal."
This crime is considered a misdemeanor under law 47-1-40 Section A, but the Hoppmann could face additional charges. Misdemeanors under this section are punished by jail sentences no longer than 60 days and fines between $100 and $500.
The suspect could face felony charges if it is determined that he "cruelly killed" or "inflicted excessive or unnecessary pain or suffering upon the animal." These charges are punished by jail sentences between 180 days and 5 years. Felony charges can also carry fines of up to $5,000 under law 47-1-40 Section B.