ALACHUA, Fla. -- Officials say a Florida breeder who was fatally attacked by a large, flightless bird native to Australia and New Guinea did not have a permit to own the animal.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Karen Parker confirmed Monday that 75-year-old Marvin Hajos exercised an exemption in the agency's captive wildlife rules. The attacked occurred Friday near Gainesville.
The Gainesville Sun reports that a permit is normally required to possess, sell or publicly exhibit cassowaries, but breeders are exempt from the rule.
Cassowaries are similar to emus and stand up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and weigh up to 130 pounds (59 kilograms). The San Diego Zoo's website calls them the world's most dangerous bird with a four-inch (10-centimeter), dagger-like claw on each foot that can cut open people or predators.
Information from: The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, http://www.gainesvillesun.com