The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office have charged three men in connection with the “shark dragging” video that surfaced on social media in July. Michael Wenzel, 25; Robert Lee Benac, 28; and Spencer Heintz, 23, were all charged with two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty with Wenzel and Benac also charged with one count each of illegal method of take. The video shows a shark, tied by its tail, being dragged behind a speedboat at high speed. At one point, the accused are shown smiling and laughing while commenting that the shark appears “almost dead.”
If found guilty, the tariff for a third-degree felony animal cruelty charge is a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.