Tags: men | drag | shark | video | felony cruelty

Men Dragging Shark in Video Charged With Felony Cruelty

Image: Men Dragging Shark in Video Charged With Felony Cruelty

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By    |   Wednesday, 13 December 2017 11:37 AM

Three men seen dragging a shark in a video were charged with felony animal cruelty on Tuesday, Fox News reported, after the footage went viral earlier this year and a four-month investigation was started.

Now 21-year-old Michael Wenzel, 23-year-old Spencer Heintz, and 28-year-old Robert Lee Benac each face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty, while Wenzel and Benac also face a misdemeanor count of taking a shark illegally, according to Fox News.

The video showed the live shark being pulled through the water by a boat at high speed, drawing widespread criticism.

According to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which investigated the incident, the video shows the three accused “laughing while the shark is being dragged across the top of the water at high speed,” The Sun-Sentinel reported.

“At the end of [the] recording Wenzel states, ‘I think it’s dead,” the report stated.

During the investigations the FWC examined the suspects’ social media activity, conducted interviews and spoke to several shark experts.

“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,” said Bo Rivard, the FWC chairman, per The Miami-Herald.

Third-degree felonies for aggravated animal cruelty have a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, The Sun-Sentinel noted. Charges of illegal method of take, in this case a shark, carry a penalty of 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

A childhood friend of the three suspects, Sydney Thomas, told ABC Action News he was confident investigators would make an arrest.

“There are always repercussions to whatever you do,” he said.

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Three men seen dragging a shark in a video were charged with felony animal cruelty on Tuesday after the footage went viral earlier this year and a four-month investigation was started.
men, drag, shark, video, felony cruelty
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2017-37-13
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 11:37 AM
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