Petition: Punish Men Who Dragged Shark (Video)

Petition: Punish Men Who Dragged Shark (Video) Promo Image

A petition is circulating online to punish the Florida fisherman caught on video (below) dragging a shark behind a boat at high speed.

"This sociopathic behavior demands attention and prevention," reads the petition in response to the video. "Many feel that this act of violence is in fact a criminal act."

Campaigners demand authorities arrest Michael Robert Wenzel, Robert Lee 'Bo' Benac, and anybody else involved, before sentencing them to 1,000 hours of community service, reports the Miami Herald.

"These 1,000 community service hours will be held under the supervision of The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission," they write, adding the guilty should also have their fishing licenses revoked permanently. "They will use that time to teach these young men to treat our Florida wildlife with respect."

"Wenzel and his accomplices will pay for any costs associated," it adds.

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In addition to punishing those shown in the video, campaigners also demand policy changes.

"We the people also request that Florida lawmakers pass a bill making this kind of animal torture illegal," they write. "We also request that these people be punished for their crimes of animal abuse. This punishment should consist of jail time in addition to community service."

Within three days, more than 13,000 people had signed the petition.

"These boys are heading down a dark and dangerous path and intervention is needed now, before more animals and/or people fall victim to these individuals," wrote one supporter.

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"This is a disgrace to our community and these sociopaths need to be punished," added another.

Additional footage was released a few days later revealing the young men poured beer into the mouth of a Goliath grouper and over the gills of the shark, further fueling people's outrage.

"Something is seriously wrong with people who are entertained by the suffering of animals," wrote one Daily Mail reader. "They need to be closely supervised for a long time."

"What a cruel and disgusting human being!" commented another. "Someone's character is defined from how they treat all other living creatures."

According to local residents, it's not the first time Wenzel and Benac have abused animals.

"They’ve been well-known animal abusers for a long time," said activist Courtney Martin. "A ton of animal groups, from no-kill shelters to Save the Tarpon have been after them for years. Someone needs to dig into it, why they keep getting away with it."

While the young men's parents have yet to officially comment on the situation, it's been revealed Benac's mother, Betsy Benac, is the chairwoman of the Manatee County commission.

Sources:, Miami Herald, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Terry Goss/Wikimedia CommonsInstagram via Daily Mail (2)

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