OSPREY, Fla. - An investigation is underway at The Oaks Club after fireworks were intentionally launched into a bird nesting area, and the family behind it isn't apologizing for their actions.
"I don't want to endure another summer of this stench and dirt," said Page Halpin.
Halpin is talking about the thousands of birds that live on the rookery behind her home. The nesting site is made up of two islands in the Oaks Club, but many have complained that the bird population has gotten out of hand. And, this week the Halpin's took matters into their own hands.
"I saw a flash of light as I was sitting there and I got up and walked to the patio and I saw a second burst of flames going from my neighbors home," said Beverly Meadows a resident at the Oaks Club.
According to the incident report from the Sarasota Sheriff's Office. The Halpin's launched fireworks in the center of the rookery to scare the birds away. And when asked why they responded: "Because the smell and the noise has gotten to where we don't go out there any more. It's gotten out of hand" said Halpin.
But there's a problem, the action is illegal.
"Launching any kind of incendiary device into a bird colony, is harassment of those animal. That can be considered anywhere from a first degree to a second degree misdemeanor. And penalty can be a maximum of to a $1000 and up to 1 year in jail," says Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer Barly Martin.
But according Officer Martin, those penalties may not be enforced in this situation. "It would have to be witnessed by a law enforcement officer to be prosecuted, and currently the FWC is working with the sheriff's office in that area to appease all the neighbors involved," says Officer Martin.
ABC 7 made calls to the sheriff department, but they deny any involvement in the investigation; saying they only responded the night of the incident because it was an active scene. And despite the fact that it is against the law to use fireworks in the county, the Sheriff's Office maintains that this is now an FWC investigation.
In the meantime residents at the oaks club remain at odds.
"These people seem to have no sense of right or wrong for one thing, and no sense of the law for another", said Meadows.
"I'm altering my behavior because of the birds that are behind my house. And its an unhealthy environment, for the people," added Halpin.
FWC officials say they are still investigating the issue and will determine if any charges will be filed. The Oaks Club is also conducting their own investigation and will determine if the homeowner will be leveled any fines.