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.
In the video released by the FWC, one of the men appears to say "look, it’s already almost dead," while pointing to the shark flopping across the water behind the speeding boat.
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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.