As outrage mounts over the video that surfaced of several men dragging a shark behind their boat, Florida wildlife officials have taken action to investigate the matter. They have confirmed the identity of the men in the video but didn’t release their names.
The internet rallied and took it upon themselves to research the matter and identified two of the men in the video: Michael Wenzel and Robert Lee “Bo” Benac. It has also been discovered that this was not the first instance in which Wenzel and Benac savagely mistreated animals.
People have unearthed several photos of the pair abusing animals and taking photos that are utterly horrid and demeaning. The Miami Herald has reported that the two men are anglers in the area and have a record of complaints filed against them for similar behavior.
For instance, one video of Wenzel which was found on his Instagram page (before he deleted his account) shows him shooting a shark with a pistol.
In another image, both Wenzel and Benac can be seen propping open an endangered Goliath grouper’s mouth while they pour beer into it.
In 2015, Wenzel was investigated for posting a highly disturbing photo of him holding a pelican’s bill shut. However, no charges came from the incident.
A petition was launched to urge authorities to punish this behavior. Florida wildlife has the whole world to contend with if these men are not brought to justice, so they’re doing something about it.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has assured the public that the investigation is underway in connection with the actions of Wenzel and Benac. They are also looking into anyone else who may have been involved in the mistreatment of Florida wildlife.
A spokesman for the commission has confirmed that a team has watched the viral video of the shark and are working to ascertain who was involved in the act as well as where it took place.
The description on the petition states, “This sociopathic behavior demands attention and prevention. Many feel that this act of violence is, in fact, a criminal act.”
In addition to “community service and jail time,” the organizers of the petition also “demand that everyone in this [shark dragging] video has their fishing license revoked permanently.” Hopefully, justice will prevail for the injured and dead animals.