Three men have been charged with animal cruelty after being identified in a shark-dragging video that went viral in July. Miami charter fisherman Mark Quartiano posted the video on Facebook after two Instagram users (who he said were part of the cruelty) sent it to him.
"I was horrified," Quartiano told CNN. "I've been shark fishing for 50 years, and I've never seen a disrespect for an animal my entire career that was that evil."
In the video, men drag a shark behind a speedboat and laugh as it wriggles and flops around in pain.
At one point, one of the men appears to say with a jovial tone, “I think it’s almost dead."
The video disturbed thousands of people, who shared it in the hope that it would lead to the capture of the three men responsible.
Now, arrests have been made. Michael Wenzel, 25; Robert Lee Benac, 28; and Spencer Heintz, 23, of Florida have been charged with aggravated animal cruelty, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office. NBC News attempted to reach all three men, but none of them have returned any comments as of the moment.
Investigators believe that the incident happened over the summer and that the men shot the animal before dragging it at a high-speed. It appears that the dragging was what killed the shark.
Florida Governor Rick Scott applauded the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for finding those responsible for the act of animal cruelty after a four-month investigation.
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