The men who dragged a shark behind a boat in a cruel video earlier this week have posted other pictures of abusing wildlife on their social media pages.
On Tuesday, a horrifying video emerged of the shark being brutally dragged behind four men’s speedboat in Florida as they laughed at the helpless creature.
Though the Florida wildlife officials have confirmed the identities of the men involved, they declined to release their names.
Instead, several angry people posted their names on Facebook.
Some of the men allegedly involved have posted several other pictures of themselves mistreating wildlife, including holding various birds and holding up a mutilated shark.
The men who dragged a shark behind a boat in a cruel video earlier this week have posted other pictures of abusing wildlife on their social media pages
Though Florida officials have confirmed the identities of the men involved in the video, they have not released their names. Instead, angry people on Facebook have posted their names on Facebook. This picture of two of the men, Michael Wenzel and Robert Lee ‘Bo’ Benac, surfaced Thursday showing them pouring beer into the gaping mouth of a protected Goliath grouper
Residents in the area said two of the men, Michael Wenzel and Robert Lee ‘Bo’ Benac, whose mother, Betsy Benac, is the chairwoman of the Manatee County commission, are anglers they’ve repeatedly complained about, according to the Miami Herald.
A video of Wenzel shooting at a shark also surfaced on Instagram before he shut down his profile
The outrage grew on Thursday when another image surfaced of two of the men pouring beer into the gaping mouth of a protected Goliath grouper and over the gills of a hammerhead shark.
A video of Wenzel shooting at a shark also surfaced on Instagram before he shut down his profile.
On Tuesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission launched an investigation after the men were seen in the video, talking about how the shark is going to die as it helplessly flopped around in the water behind their boat.
Spokesperson Robert Klepper confirmed the FWC was ‘alerted to the video circulating on multiple social media sites showing a group of individuals traveling at high speed on the water dragging a shark behind the vessel’.
‘The FWC takes this very seriously and is currently investigating this incident. We are also attempting to identify the individuals in the video and where it took place.’
According to the Miami Herald, Wenzel was investigated by state and federal officials in 2015 after posting a series of disturbing pictures that showed him gripping pelicans.
Wildlife officials said the case was closed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in January, highlighting the difficulty in prosecuting incidents depicted in an online post.
Though the commission declined to release the names of the men involved, several angry people posted their names on Facebook. Residents in the area named, Michael Wenzel (right) and Robert Lee ‘Bo’ Benac (left) as two of the men in the video
It’s unclear if those involved have done anything illegal. But social media are calling it animal cruelty.
A petition launched by outraged residents has garnered more than 3,000 signatures from people who are calling for the punishment of the men who dragged a shark behind their boat in the video.
Outrage over the video sparked an online petition on Change.org demanding ‘community service and jail time’ for the men.
As of Thursday night, 3,200 people signed the petition calling for Florida wildlife officials to revoke the men’s fishing licenses and order them to ‘1,000 hours of community service’.
‘These 1,000 community service hours will be held under the supervision of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,’ the petition read.
‘They will use that time to teach these young men to treat our Florida wildlife with respect.’
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission launched an investigation after the video of the shark being dragged by the speeding boat. Benac (center) is believed to be one of the men in the video
Benac (pictured) is the son of Betsy Benac, is the chairwoman of the Manatee County commission
It’s unclear if the men involved in the shark video have done anything illegal. But social media are calling it animal cruelty. Benac is pictured
Fishing captain Mark Quartiano, who received the video from someone he believes was on the boat, shared the clip on Instagram, writing: ‘FOR ONCE I MAY HAVE TO AGREE WITH @PETA.’
The brief, 11-second video, shows the shark hitting the surface of the water and flipping around before the cameraman turns the lens to show three others on the boat, laughing and pointing at the animal.
One man can be heard saying: ‘Look, it’s already almost dead.’
Quartiano, who said he received the video from Instagram users @bearjew428 AND @MICHAELWENZEL, wrote: ‘CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WTF IS GOING ON HERE ???? JUST GOT THIS ON MY FEED!
‘FOR ONCE I MAY HAVE TO AGREE WITH @PETA. #WHODOESTHISS*** #sowrong #notcool.’
Instagram user @tati.tvami.asi wrote: ‘Yeah, they’re pieces of s***. I wish some one could drag them behind their car like this.’
User @yeahjustg wrote: ‘How sad for that poor shark. A beautiful creature tortured for some sick human’s amusement. I hope they are identified and prosecuted. If anyone knows who they are, please report them.’
In Florida, shark fishing is legal, but regulated. Some species cannot be harvested at all; others must have reached a certain length before harvesting is allowed.