Mere months ago, a video showing three Florida-based men dragging a shark behind their fishing boat at high speeds went viral on the internet and outraged millions of viewers. Now, that same video has come back to haunt each of them.
Image Credit: FWC
Citing local authorities, the three men including 21-year-old Michael Wenzel, 28-year-old Robert Lee Benac, and 23-year-old Spencer Heintz now face felony animal cruelty charges, among other things.
If you haven’t already seen the graphic footage, we’ve embedded it below... viewer discretion is advised:
Although shark sport fishing seems to be a popular activity just off Florida’s coast, what we see in this video doesn't fit into that category by any stretch. Instead, it was nothing more than needless animal cruelty.
You can hear the men laughing and taunting the helpless shark in the video; one of them also exclaims that he thought it was “almost dead,” yet he did nothing to stop the violent act.
“I was outraged by the sickening video of a shark being horribly abused earlier this year, and I am proud of the hard work of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law enforcement during this investigation,” Florida governor Rick Scott said on Twitter.
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The shark not only suffered a cruel and unusual death, but the maniacal handling actually tore the deceased shark’s body into countless pieces as it slapped the ocean’s surface repeatedly.
Florida laws regulate proper shark sport fishing and game handling, but these three men seemed to go above and beyond to defy all ethical regulation. That said, it isn’t hard to understand why the video sparked so much anger online.
Notably, this isn’t the first time shark-related animal cruelty has happened in Florida; a local man faced similar animal cruelty charges in 2016 after punching a hammerhead shark to death.
One can only hope that these charges will set an example and that we’ll see less of this going forward. Unfortunately, some people just aren’t right in the head.
Source: ABC News