Investigation is underway at the Oaks Club after fireworks incident

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Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 5:58 pm | Updated: 1:10 pm, Wed Jul 31, 2013.

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.


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • weeyin posted at 8:19 am on Sun, Apr 14, 2013.

    weeyin Posts: 1

    So sorry for your inconvenience Ms Halpin but may I remind you that you invaded the birds, habitat not the other way around. Your actions were illegal and it is sadly typical that the local law "enforcement" officers could care less about the situation.
    FWC does indeed have jurisdiction here but if we stop to consider that the average FWC officer is single-handedly covering an average of five or six counties it may well take time until you are brought to task.
    I personally am more irritated and offended by the current odor emanating from your little colony than from any rookery. There are simple directions available to find Interstate 5 and keep driving---Pls!

  • Herb formally from Sarasota posted at 6:44 am on Sun, Apr 14, 2013.

    Herb formally from Sarasota Posts: 1

    This thing has a right to breath in harming the very nature that was present LONG before this thng infected our earth?? The sub human creature that this story involves has no place with Mother Nature.

  • Coco posted at 4:39 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    Coco Posts: 1

    Hey, I have a bunch of homeless and transients living in my common land space behind my house. Guess I will go ahead and shoot off Bottle Rockets to "scare them away" so I don't have to have the dirt and smell effect me! It's not like they are PEOPLE or LIVING THINGS right? I mean, my comfort level is what really matters.......What an idiot! I can only hope the Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer will do his/her job since the sherrif's office does not seem to think it is their responsibility to uphold the laws of this state.

  • Patsb posted at 12:01 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    Patsb Posts: 1

    They already tore down the trees in one of the rookeries, with the second slated to go. The birds were there first, Ms. Halpin... and if you have a problem with them you never should have bought there in the first place! And shame on the Sheriff's department for turning a blind eye. People get prosecuted on circumstantial evidence all the time... in this case you have a confession and eye witnesses. What more do you need to do your job?

  • donnydinsrq posted at 7:16 pm on Tue, Apr 9, 2013.

    donnydinsrq Posts: 1

    Hey Officer Matin you say cant do anything cause you didnt witness yet these fools openly admit to doing it ae you really that stupid to be in law enforcement? To these fools it was there when you bought your house move then


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