Nearly five months after video surfaced on social media of a shark being dragged by a speeding boat, three men are facing animal abuse charges as a result of the investigation sparked by public outrage.
Robert Lee “Bo” Benac, 28, Michael Wenzel, 21, and Spencer Heintz, 23, have each been charged with two counts of aggravated animal cruelty, a third-degree felony, according to a press release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Tuesday. Benac and Wenzel also face one count of illegal method of take of a shark, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Charges have been filed by the State Attorney’s Office in Hillsborough County, not in Manatee. In October, State Attorney Ed Brodsky announced that both offices would be investigating as “many of these incidents occurred in Hillsborough,” he said.
“The State Attorney’s Office is committed to holding these men accountable for having engaged in such senseless and unjustifiable animal cruelty,” 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Andrew H. Warren said in a press release. “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
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