Three Men Charged With Animal Cruelty After Dragging Shark Behind Boat

7/1/2018

Three men have been charged with animal cruelty after filming themselves roughly dragging a shark behind a boat at high speed last summer.The men,Michael Wenzel, 21, Spencer Heintz, 23, and Robert Lee Benac, 28, filmed themselves dragging the shark after catching it and tying a rope to its tail in July.

shark pulled behind boat

Source: markthteshark/Instagram

They then sent the video, which shows the shark hitting the water's surface roughly and repeatedly, to Mark 'the shark' Quartiano, a famous fisherman who styles himself as a shark hunter.Quartiano was disgusted by the blatant display of abuse and posted it to his Instagram with the tags '#sowrong' and '#notcool'.He told WESH 2:

This is just really sick, one of the most horrific things I have seen in 50 years of professional sport fishing. To drag a shark by the tail on a rope, it’s not sporting. It’s not. It should be against the law.
shark abuse

Source: markthteshark/Instagram

The post went viral, sparking an investigation that took four months and has ended with the men being charged with multiple misdemeanors and felonies.Rick Scott, Florida's governor, said in a statement:

I was outraged by the sickening video of a shark being horribly abused earlier this year. Florida has no tolerance for this mistreatment, and I am proud of the hard work of FWC law enforcement during this investigation to hold these individuals accountable for their horrific actions.

Fish and Wildlife Comissioner Bo Rivard added that he "hopes these charges will send a clear message to others that this kind of behavior involving fish and wildlife will not be tolerated."If convicted, the men will face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.Watch the video of the shark below (WARNING: graphic content): https://www.instagram.com/p/BW7_3spDXOG/

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