A peacock that roamed into a fast-food store parking lot was savagely attacked by man who vilified the bird as a vampire, animal-control authorities said.
Beaten so fiercely that most of his tail feathers fell out, the bird was euthanized, said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for the city Center for Animal Care and Control.
"It's just unbelievable that someone would do something to a poor, defenseless animal and do it in such a cruel fashion," Gentles said.
The peacock, a male several years old, wandered into a Staten Island Burger King parking lot and perched on a car hood Thursday morning. Charmed employees had been feeding him bread when the man appeared.
He seized the iridescent bird by the neck, hurled the creature to the ground and started kicking and stomping the animal, said worker Felicia Finnegan.
"He was going crazy," said Finnegan, 19.
Asked what he was doing, she said, the bird-beater explained, "'I'm killing a vampire!"'
Employees called police, but the attacker ran when he saw them. Authorities were looking for the attacker, described as being in his teens or early 20s.
It was not clear how the bird made his way to the Burger King, but a Staten Island resident who raises peacocks said he had given some to a person who lives near the restaurant.