Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee (FWC) and prosecutors from the Hillsborough County State Lawyer’s Workplace introduced Tuesday that three males had been charged in connection to a video that surfaced in July that reveals a shark being dragged behind a dashing boat. The three males had been named in a FWC press launch: Michael Wenzel, 21, and Spencer Heintz, 23, of Palmetto; and Robert Lee Benac, 28, of Bradenton.
Every face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty whereas Wenzel and Benac will even face a misdemeanor depend of unlawful technique of taking a shark.
“As we have stated since this video and different pictures got here to gentle, these actions haven’t any place in Florida, the place we treasure and preserve our pure sources for everybody,” FWC chairman Bo Rivard stated in an announcement. “We respect the endurance and assist of the general public as our regulation enforcement investigators labored with the Hillsborough County State Lawyer’s Workplace to establish various severe violations that might be delivered to the courts for adjudication. It’s our hope these expenses will ship a transparent message to others that this type of habits involving our fish and wildlife is not going to be tolerated.”
FWC stated that the fees stemmed from a four-month lengthy investigation into the video and “different disturbing pictures on social media involving stunning disregard for Florida’s pure sources.”
CBS affiliate WJAX-TV studies that Florida Gov. Rick Scott launched an announcement after the fees had been introduced: “I used to be outraged by the sickening video of a shark being horribly abused earlier this 12 months. Florida has no tolerance for this mistreatment, and I’m pleased with the arduous work of FWC regulation enforcement throughout this investigation to carry these people accountable for his or her horrific actions.”
FWC says investigators carried out exhaustive analysis into the suspects’ social media exercise, carried out quite a few interviews and spoke with various material consultants on sharks.
The video, which was despatched to South Florida shark hunter Mark “the Shark” Quartiano, has angered folks throughout South Florida and elsewhere.
The clip gained consideration after Quartiano reposted and criticized it on his Instagram web page, including the hashtags #sowrong and #notcool.
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