Three Florida men have been charged in connection with a July video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat at high speeds, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission announced on Tuesday.
Michael Wenzel, 21, Robert Lee Benac, III, 28, and Spencer Heintz, 23, each face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty — a third-degree felony.
Wenzel and Benac also face a misdemeanor count of illegal method of take for the shark.
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it examined the video and other "disturbing images on social media involving shocking disregard for Florida’s natural resources" when investigating 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,” said Commission Chairman Bo Rivard, adding that the Commission hopes the charges will send a clear message that mistreating wildlife "will not be tolerated."