Bird That Killed Its Owner Now Up for Auction

Cassowaries that belonged to Marvin Hajos going on sale in Florida
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2019 3:00 PM CDT
Bird That Killed Its Owner Now Up for Auction
In this June 30, 2015 photo, an endangered cassowary roams in the Daintree National Forest, Australia.   (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

A Florida wildlife breeder was killed by one of his birds almost two weeks ago—and now that bird is going up for auction. More than 100 exotic animals from the estate of Marvin Hajos are being sold off after the 75-year-old man was fatally attacked by a 6-foot-tall cassowary at his Alachua County farm. The flightless birds are often called the "world's most dangerous bird" thanks to their "dagger-like" claws that can grow up to 5 inches long. Hajos fell down between two cassowary cages on April 12 and was attacked through the fence by at least one of the birds, the New York Times reports. The birds were not put down after the attack. Gulf Coast Livestock Auction is running the Saturday auction, the Gainesville Sun reports, but a manager was unwilling to offer any details to the newspaper beyond confirming the company has all the licenses needed to sell the animals.

On Facebook, however, the business shared a flyer about the event listing dozens of animals being auctioned off, including two double-wattled cassowaries and other "vulnerable and endangered species," per the Sun. Cassowaries are native to New Guinea and Australia and Florida requires a permit to own them; significant experience and cage requirements must be met to get the permit. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson says the agency is aware of the Saturday auction: "The sale of captive wildlife to and from properly licensed individuals is not prohibited in Florida. If an individual is properly licensed to own/exhibit/sell captive wildlife, no additional license is required for a sale of this nature." The investigator from the Medical Examiner's Office who worked on the Hajos case says he heard the breeder was checking on eggs when he died: "The female cassowary, which is the larger of the two birds, saw he was messing with the eggs and you know how that goes,” he said. “It is like a bear protecting their young." (Australians were once warned to flee the birds.)

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