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Caution: This article contains graphic details that may be distressing for some readers.
Police and the RSPCA WA have commenced an investigation after a kookaburra that was a regular at a WA tavern was killed in front of shocked patrons on Friday evening.
'Kevin' the kookaburra was well known to staff and owners at the Parkerville Tavern, 32km east of Perth, with a photo of the animal and its cheeky eating habits posted at the venue.
"Meet one of our locals (he's still out there). He has a love for the Parky Steak Sandwich and fish. He is loathed to buy his own and whenever possible, will sneak up and steak yours," the pub notice said.
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"Please be mindful of your precious steak sandwich and meals in the garden and in the meantime, we shall continue our negotiations with this chap in the hope that he learns some table manners."
Radio 6PR reported on Saturday morning a patron at the tavern became enraged when the animal pinched some of his food, before he grabbed it and "ripped its head off" in front of shocked onlookers, including children.
"We are concerned to hear about another senseless act of violence against an animal - in this case the friendly kookaburra, Kevin, at the Parkerville Tavern," the RSPCA WA said.
"It was reported to the RSPCA cruelty hotline last night that a visitor to the tavern killed Kevin in front of other visitors, including families with children.
Reveller who ripped the head off of a beloved kookaburra named Kevin after the well-known bird grabbed food from his plate could face charges
A man at a pub in Western Australia could be charged after he allegedly grabbed a kookaburra - known as Kevin - and pulled the bird's head off then threw it under the table. Kevin was known for cheekily stealing food from pub patrons.© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A man who tore off the head of a kookaburra while at dinner may face charges (stock) An RSPCA spokeswoman told AAP the organisation had not given up possibly pursuing the man but said the Act was unclear.
"An RSPCA WA inspector has made inquiries. Sadly, right now under Western Australian law, it does not appear this horrific act constitutes an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2002."
Tavern owners posted on social media after the incident to condemn the abhorrent act and apologise and reassure locals.
"We are still in disbelief about the barbaric attack on one of nature’s gifts," the tavern owners said.
"We are so sorry for those who witnessed this despicable act.
"Whilst for many (especially the children) the memory of seeing such a thing will remain fresh for some time yet, please take comfort in knowing that the whole community is standing together against this type of behaviour.
"This is not the norm and will not be tolerated. The matter is being dealt with by the authorities, so we will know more about what the outcome will be soon."
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said, if the allegations were true, the killing was despicable.
"The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions is aware of the incident and is conducting a joint investigation with the WA Police Force," he said.
"I can confirm it occurred at a licenced premises in Owen Road, Parkerville, around 6pm."
While the RSPCA can only take action under the Animal Welfare Act where an animal has suffered, "the incident with Kevin the Kookaburra may have contravened laws designed specifically to protect native wildlife", it said.
Posts about the incident on social media suggested the man became violent when other patrons tried to confront him about the alleged act of violence against the kookaburra.
Anyone witnessing cruelty to animals is urged to report it to RSPCA hotline on 1300 278 358.
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