Three men in Florida apparently thought it would be hilarious to tie a shark by its tail to their speedboat and then make a video of it bouncing hard in the wake of the vessel as the men laugh. Afterward, they took photos of what was left of the poor shark’s mangled body.
One of these losers sent the video and photos via Instagram to Mark “The Shark” Quartiano, a famous local fisherman, with the message, “I think you’re going to get a kick out of this!”
Quartiano was not the least bit amused.
“I don’t know what they expected me to do. Laugh it off and say nice work? Oh no, that’s not me,” he told the Miami Herald. “I’ve been shark fishing for 50 years and I’ve never seen a disrespect for an animal my entire career that was that evil,” he told CNN.
Hoping his followers could identify the three men, Quartiano posted the video on his Instagram and Facebook page, where it’s been viewed over 280,000 times. He notified the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which immediately launched an investigation into the incident.
“Since the investigation is active, we can’t confirm the identities of the individuals, and it is too early to speculate as to what, if any, violations took place in this incident,” the FWC stated July 26. “However, we would like to state that the lack of respect shown in this video for our precious natural resources is disheartening and disturbing, and is not representative of conservation-minded anglers around the world.”
Here’s the video, which is extremely disturbing.
If the shark was alive while it was being dragged – which could be the case, since one of the men in the video says, “Look, it’s almost dead” – this horrible act would have been especially egregious. Neil Hammerschlag, a shark expert at the University of Miami, told the Miami Herald that in addition to the trauma of being slammed repeatedly against the water’s surface, the shark would have suffocated from the lack of water moving through its gills.
And if the shark was alive, the men violated Florida laws that prohibit cruelty to animals. Unfortunately, the most they could likely be charged with would be a first-degree misdemeanor, with the possibility of up to only a year in jail and a paltry $5,000 fine.
Chillingly, it’s not unusual for fishermen to kill sharks by dragging them backward behind their boats so they drown, said Florida charter captain Nate Weissman. “But to do it at 45 miles per hour for sport, that ain’t cool,” he added. (Actually, doing it at any speed ain’t cool, but downright cruel.)
This wasn’t the first time that at least one of those three men abused wildlife and posted evidence of it, the Miami Herald reports. In photos that previously appeared on social media, one of these creeps dangled a spotted eagle ray from a rope and, with friends, held a pelican with its wings outstretched.
Although the FWC was aware of these and other disturbing photos, no animal cruelty charges were filed against the abuser, and the case was closed in January. Hopefully the commission won’t repeat that mistake, and all three men on that boat will be charged with animal cruelty.
If you think these men should be identified and charged with animal cruelty by the FWC, please sign and share this petition.
If you happen to have any information about this case, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 or email Tip@MyFWC.com. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
This article was first published by Care2.com on 27 Jul 2017.