ARCADIA, Calif. – A female peacock has ruffled more than just feathers at a Los Angeles-area liquor store.
Without a peep, the peahen strutted into the open door of the Royal Oaks Liquor Store in Arcadia on Monday. Store manager and college senior Rani Ghanem said he didn't even know it was there until a customer walked in and asked him about "el pollo," Spanish for "the chicken."
Ghanem, a 21-year-old San Bernardino resident whose family owns the store, said he then tried to guide the sharp-clawed bird outside but that she spooked, at one point flying directly toward him and then up onto a top shelf of the store. And that spooked Ghanem.
An animal-control officer responded after Ghanem called 911, approaching the peahen with gloves and a fishing net. That's when the hilarity ensued, Ghanem said.
"He was trying to get it with the fishing net, and (the bird) jumped on the first wine bottle. When that happened, I was like, 'Aw, this is about to be a big mess,' " Ghanem said. "He tried to get it again with the net ... It just went straight diving into all the bottles. The more he kept on trying to use the net, the more it kept on flapping its wings and knocking everything over."
At one point, cellphone video taken by Ghanem shows the officer catching a wine bottle in the net as the bird crashes through a shelf and a dozen bottles shatter to the ground.
Unable to watch more destruction, Ghanem puts on a sweatshirt to protect himself from the bird's claws and helps the officer ensnare it.
He said they took the bird outside and that it was unharmed.
In all, Ghanem said the peahen was in the store for 90 minutes and broke $500 worth of the family store's best bottles, including champagne.
"Yeah, he's got expensive taste," Ghanem joked in the store on Tuesday. "I'm like, 'You break, you buy, dude.' But clearly he didn't. He got away with it."
Peacocks are common to Arcadia, about 13 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. They were introduced after the city's founder imported them from India in the early 1900s. Though some residents view colorful birds as a nuisance, they are a protected animal in the area and harming them can carry fines and jail time.