Three men charged in connection to shark dragging video

Three men charged in connection to shark dragging video

Three men charged in connection to shark dragging video

"As we've said since this video and other images came to light, these actions have no place in Florida, where we treasure and conserve our natural resources for everyone", FWC chairman Bo Rivard said in a statement.

"The State Attorney's Office is committed to holding these men accountable for having engaged in such senseless and unjustifiable animal cruelty", 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Andrew H. Warren said in a press release.

The men showed a "shocking disregard for Florida's natural resources", the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a news release Tuesday night.

WESH 2 News in Orlando said they had obtained a related photo that shows what appears to be the same shark, ripped to pieces, and being held by two men. Wenzel and Benac were both also hit with an added misdemeanor charge for capturing a shark using an illegal method. It is our hope these charges will send a clear message to others that this kind of behaviour involving our fish and wildlife will not be tolerated'.

A third-degree felony in Florida can be punishable with up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Wenzel was booked into the Pinellas County jail at 12:30 p.m. and freed at 7 p.m. after posting $4,250 bail, according to records. Wenzel's father is Robert Wenzel, the Manatee County planning section manager; Benac's mother is Betsy Benac, chairwoman of the Manatee County Commission.

Three shark biologists interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times said it was very likely that the animal was still alive during the dragging.

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"After the shark is shot", the affidavite notes, "all occupants are heard celebrating by laughing while Heinz yells, ‘Get it again!" When it was reeled close to the boat, Wenzel shot the shark with a.38-caliber revolver.

All three men posted bail.

The Florida boaters were seen the viral video dragging a shark at a "high speed" through the water, prompting outcries of "animal lynching" from some activists. Quartiano shared the video via his own Instagram account that day.

The video was published online by Miami sport fisherman Mark Quartiano, who said he chose to release it so the fishermen could be identified.

Rick Scott, the governor of Florida issued a statement after charges announced, CBS affiliate WJAX-TV reported, "I was outraged by the sickening video of a shark being horribly abused earlier this year".

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