The organizers of an online petition, which calls on Florida law enforcement to arrest and charge the men shown in a video dragging a shark behind their boat at high speed, said they delivered more than 250,000 signatures to the Manatee County Administration Building Monday morning, the Miami Herald reports.
A Change.org petition calling for charges against a group of Gulf Coast men who recorded themselves dragging a battered shark behind a speeding boat has collected more than a quarter-million signatures. The petition calls for the men to get jail time, serve 1,000 hours of community service and have their fishing licenses permanently revoked.
"Is the shark dead yet?"
The video, posted on social media by local guide Mark the Shark Quartiano on 24 July after the makers messaged it to him on Instagram, shows three men laughing and pointing as the shark flops in the boat’s wake being dragged at high speed. One man asks if the shark is dead yet. The video sparked online outrage when it was posted to Facebook and prompted an investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation.
This sociopathic behavior demands attention and prevention. This act of violence was in fact a criminal act.
It also prompted a local activist group, called Stand Up Bark Back, to start the petition calling for those involved in the shark-dragging incident to be punished. It also asks Florida lawmakers to "pass a bill making this kind of animal torture a second-degree felony" and asks that "punishment should consist of jail time in addition to community service,” according to a post on GrindTV.com.
Call for legislation
The Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF)—the state equivalent of the nonprofit National Wildlife Federation, with its six million members—has joined the debate over the men shown in a video dragging a shark behind their boat at high speed. The FWF says it has lobied legislators for years to increase penalties and make them mandatory. ■