3 Florida men charged in shark dragging video incident

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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3 men charged in shark dragging video. Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News at 4:30 a.m. on December 13, 2017.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida wildlife officials and prosecutors have charged three men connected to a video of a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release says 21-year-old Michael Wenzel and 23-year-old Spencer Heintz of Palmetto, along with 28-year-old Robert Lee Benac of Bradenton, each face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Wenzel and Benac also face a misdemeanor count of illegal method of taking a shark.

The video of the shark being dragged went viral in late July after a Miami sport fisherman criticized it on social media.

FWC Chairman Bo Rivard said in a statement that he hopes the charges send a clear message that this kind of behavior won't be tolerated.

Prosecutors in Hillsborough County are handling the case. Jail records didn't list attorneys for the men.

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