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The Man Who Dragged A Live Shark Behind His Boat Finally Received His Sentence

Of course this happened in Florida.

A google search for the words “Florida Man” will tell you things happen so often in Florida that there is literally a meme about it.

Here’s just a few “Florida Man” gems.

A video, shared on Facebook thousands of times in 2017, showed a man who caught a shark on some kind of line, driving top speed through the water and dragging the shark, flailing and trying to get away, through the rough waters just mere feet away from the motor.

Here is the video.

Be warned, it is disturbing.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launched an investigation upon catching wind of the video. They announced:

“We have been alerted to this video.”

“We take this very seriously and are currently investigating this incident. We are also attempting to identify the individuals in the video and where it took place.”

“If you have any information, please contact our Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 or Individuals can remain anonymous.”

The man dragging the shark was eventually identified, along with accomplices.

But in the continuing theme of “there is no justice in law,” they received extremely light slaps on the wrist for their act of animal cruelty.

Michael Wenzel of Palmetto, Florida, the captain of the boat, and two accomplices, Robert Lee Benac of Bradenton and Spencer Heintz also of Palmetto were charged with animal cruelty.

Wenzel pleaded guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence:

10 days in jail and 11 months probation.

“This is a privileged kid,” said Marie Galbraith, a member of Florida Voices for Animals, to the Tampa Bay Times.

“This is a slap on the wrist.”

According to reports:

“Wenzel, 22, stood tall in a loud-blue suit and a crisp, white dress shirt as Hillsborough Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe asked a series of standard questions about whether he understood his plea. The judge noticed him smiling after a question about whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Judge Wolfe asked:

“Is there something funny about this?”

This situation is making people sick.

One of the accomplices, Robert Benac, rejected a similar plea deal and will now head into a criminal trial in June.

Here’s hoping for justice in that case.


Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.