TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida wildlife officials and prosecutors have charged three men connected to a video of a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release says 21-year-old Michael Wenzel and 23-year-old Spencer Heintz of Palmetto, along with 28-year-old Robert Lee Benac of Bradenton, each face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Wenzel and Benac also face a misdemeanor count of illegal method of taking a shark.
The video of the shark being dragged went viral in late July after a Miami sport fisherman criticized it on social media.
FWC Chairman Bo Rivard said in a statement that he hopes the charges send a clear message that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated.
Prosecutors in Hillsborough County are handling the case. Jail records didn’t list attorneys for the men.