WINLOCK, Lewis County - Fred Parker, an 81-year-old with heart trouble, was afraid of ostriches, his family says.
When his daughter, Linda Carter, found him dead Sunday night in the pen of 400-pound King Tut, she said she was at a loss to explain why Parker had been inside the pen. The ostrich killed him.
Parker, who lived on his daughter's farm in a recreational vehicle, was alone over the weekend to feed the ostriches, emus, llamas and potbellied pigs on Carter's exotic animal farm. But the task doesn't involve entering King Tut's pen, she said.
"He knew to throw the food over the fence," she said.
The case has been referred to the Lewis County prosecutor, said Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Doench.
Coroner Terry Wilson, who said Parker's neck was broken, thinks Parker was attacked Sunday morning. He added that Parker's bad heart probably contributed to the death.
"It wasn't a peck," Wilson said. "This was footwork."
Carter said she has no plans to kill the bird.
"The ostrich was protecting his domain," she said. Doench said this is mating season and males become very aggressive. Last year, King Tut kicked Carter 10 1/2 feet.
Carter said she has been raising ostriches for more than two years and they have been profitable. Ostrich meat sells for $9 a