Clearly, the pelican in the accompanying video had seen better days, and it's safe to assume that many people will find this raw scene to be disturbing. It was videotaped over the weekend by Phil Friedman, who had chartered the Toronado for a night of fishing outside Long Beach Harbor.
It shows a brown pelican that invaded the harbor's bait-receiver, only to become trapped beneath netting while the resident dog launched a prolonged assault from above.
Ultimately, the pelican scurried to an uncovered portion of the receiver, whereupon it was abruptly scooped up with a long bait net and flung into the harbor.
As strange and unsettling as it may be to watch this video, it reveals a slice of life in the harbor. The bait receiver is manned by a person whose dog keeps him company. The dog regards the dock as its territory, and the pelican as an invader.
Pelicans are considered pests by local bait operators. The birds know there are lots of fish in the receivers and wait for any opportunity to plunge in and devour fish that is otherwise sold as bait. The netting keeps the pelicans out, most times, but it's rolled back when the fishing boats arrive so bait can be scooped from the receivers into tanks on the boats.
In this case dozens of anglers watched as the pelican was ceaselessly harassed by the unleashed dog before the pelican was ultimately rescued, but hardly with great care.
For those who consider fishermen to be a little rough around the edges -- did anyone even try to call off the dog? -- this might reinforce that opinion.