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Police Investigate Lawyer Who Heartlessly Pushed A Raccoon Into The Ocean 20 Miles Offshore

Tampa Bay Times Youtube / Youtube

Clearwater Attorney, Thomas Cope forced a baby raccoon from his boat, twenty miles away from the shore, and he’s now being investigated and potentially tried for leaving the animal to die.

Much like the tagline, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” Florida has been labeled with its own tagline: “Only in Florida” under the category of Weird News. The tagline is so popular, it now merits its own annual roundup of weirdest news and craziest stunts of year. This lawyer’s act of animal cruelty is no exception.

In his now-deleted Youtube video, shared to Facebook, Thomas Cope shows a baby raccoon stowaway that showed itself twenty miles offshore. The baby was clearly stressed, rushing from one side of the boat to the other, looking for a place to hide or get off the boat.

The caption of the video read:
“Trash panda came out from hiding 20 miles from dock! Anyone else had these things squat on their boat? *watch muted if you don’t like profanity*”

In the background, Cope and another man can be heard chiding the animal, with such exclamations as:

“Get off my fucking boat! What the fuck is wrong with you?”

At the end of the video, one of voices in the background stated:

“We’re just going to have to push him off.”

The next few seconds show the baby raccoon falling from the boat and treading aimlessly in the water, the final still of the video showing the baby’s face, looking for somewhere to go.

You can watch the video below:

Since the video went viral and the lawyer was publicly scorned on social media, Thomas Cope has since issued an apology.

Cope stated:

“The animal was running around the boat hissing and growling, making it impossible for me or my friend to drive the boat.”

Cope added:

“Knowing raccoons can be rabid and unpredictable, the only realistic option we could think of in the moment was to get the raccoon off the boat.”

Nevertheless, an investigation is pending. Florida’s Wildlife Agency was alerted on May 8 to the video’s contents and they have since issued a statement regarding their progress:

“It is still too early to speculate as to what violations took place in this incident. However, the FWC would like to state that we believe these vile acts of animal cruelty have no place in our state or anywhere else.”

Raccoon-lovers and animal wellness advocates alike have taken to Twitter, enraged and coming up with their own lawsuits and outcomes that even this Tampa Bay lawyer can’t talk his way out of.

Surely there was a more humane solution than leaving an animal to a miserable death.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit