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Police: Florida man kicks swans, sleeping duck while practicing karate

A Florida man was arrested Thursday morning after he allegedly kicked two swans in the head and then another swan in the backside while practicing karate at Lake Eola, Orlando police said.

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Rocco Mantella, 34, was charged with cruelty to animals, according to an arrest report.

The report said a witness told police Mantella kicked the swans “as hard as possible.”

Another witness said Mantella kicked a small duck that appeared to be sleeping.

The report said Mantella laughed after seeing the reaction of a woman who witnessed him kicking the swans.

Witnesses said Mantella made an effort to leave the sidewalk and harass the animals by intentionally kicking them in the head.

Officials said they are monitoring the conditions of the swans.

"I guess he was, like, (practicing) karate kicks or something, and just, like, at one point, he just kicked it right in the head," witness David Camp said. "And I was like what was this guy doing?"

Police arrested Mantella after finding him walking around the lake.

Thursday's alleged incident wasn't the first incident involving the park's iconic swans.

In June 2016, an off-duty officer said she witnessed a man punch a swan in the head. Weeks earlier, half a dozen cygnets were taken from their mother. They were never found.

In 2013, a swan was euthanized after a dog attack. In 2012, a man was seen pulling a swan by its neck.

Mantella was charged with trespassing at Disney Springs three days ago. Records said he was arrested after he returned to the complex after trying to steal a cigarette from a couple in March. That charge was dropped.

Mantella remains jailed on $1,000 bail.

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