3 Florida Men Charged With Felonies In Connection With Shark Dragging Video

By on December 13, 2017 in WNDB News

Florida – Three Florida men were charged with third-degree felonies for aggravated animal cruelty in connection with a video of a shark being dragged behind a high-speed boat.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office announced the charges on Tuesday after the four-month investigation. The three men charged in the case are 21-year-old Michael Wenzel of Palmetto, Florida; 28-year-old Robert Lee Benac of Bradenton, Florida; and Spencer Heintz of Palmetto, Florida.

Officials investigated the video and other social media images in order to build the case. “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,” FWC Commission Chairman Bo Rivard says. “We appreciate the patience and support of the public as our law enforcement investigators worked with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office to identify a number of serious violations that will be brought to the courts for adjudication. It is our hope these charges will send a clear message to others that this kind of behavior involving our fish and wildlife will not be tolerated.”

All of the men are charged with two third-degree felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Wenzel and Benac are also each charged with one misdemeanor count of Illegal Method of Taking a Shark.

“The State Attorney’s Office is committed to holding these men accountable for having engaged in such senseless and unjustifiable animal cruelty. We thank the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for their work in investigating these crimes, and we stand with them, along with Florida’s fishing and hunting communities, and all those who cherish our precious natural resources, in condemning the torture of our marine wildlife,” Andrew H. Warren, State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit explains.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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