Florida wildlife officials began investigating after the video surfaced on social media in July and found that the men first shot the shark, then dragged it at high speed, causing its death, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office.
In the video, the three men, excluding the individual who shot the footage, are seen laughing and smiling as the animal visibly struggles in the boat's wake. One of the men says the shark looks "almost dead."
The three, identified as Michael Wenzel, 25; Robert Lee Benac, 28; and Spencer Heintz, 23, were all charged with two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Wenzel and Benac were also charged with one count each of illegal method of take, a misdemeanor.
A third-degree felony animal cruelty charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 10,000 dollars, according to a CNN report.
This news has been published by title Animal Cruelty In The US [GRAPHIC VIDEO]
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