Hattiesburg Zoo pulls flamingo display

Hattiesburg Zoo pulls flamingo display

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A social media post captured a costume display at the Hattiesburg Zoo referring to the flamingo death incident that happened in 2014.

The display was set up by staff during the zoo's annual "Zoo Boo" event over the weekend.

The Facebook post showed a picture of a mannequin dressed in men's clothes while holding a pink flamingo at one of the zoo's exhibits. Another pink flamingo was placed beside the mannequin.

WDAM 7 News reached out to the Hattiesburg Convention Commission about the incident, and they said the costume display has been taken down.

The Hattiesburg Convention/Tourism Commissions released this statement Monday:

"It's Halloween time, and it's also the one time of year where our staff believe they can use a little satire decorating the Zoo, including our costumed mannequins. We have witches and goblins and one of our male mannequins was holding a flamingo. We work tirelessly to dedicate the time and attention to all of our animals to ensure they have the best care. This costumed mannequin was just that, a costume for Halloween."

In October 2014, a stolen Chilean flamingo was reported missing and was returned to the zoo with life-threatening injuries, according to an HPD incident report. The injuries were so severe that the flamingo had to be euthanized.

According to the report, the bird was found several miles from the zoo on Westover Drive near 4th Street after they received a call in reference to what appeared to be a pink flamingo on the side of the road. Upon arrival, animal control took the bird from the scene and it was returned to the zoo.

According to the Hattiesburg Zoo, a second flamingo died from injuries sustained during the attack.
Devin Nottis, 19, was charged in the death of the two flamingos. According to HPD, Nottis, along with other suspects involved, were USM college students that were part of a fraternity.

Other arrests were made in the case in August 2015.

Nottis was charged with grand larceny, two counts of animal cruelty and trespassing.

Nottis pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny in December 2015 and was sentenced to complete the Regimented Inmate Program (RID) at the Mississippi Department of Corrections.