You could be arrested for abusing a Manatee !!
Manatee-Riding Woman Hands Herself In
A woman who was seen riding a manatee claims she did not know she was breaking the law.
A woman who was spotted riding a manatee off the Florida coast has handed herself in to the authorities. Officials at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office had been trying to track down Ana Gutierrez since Sunday afternoon, when she was seen in the water with the marine mammal. Gutierrez was observed touching and climbing on top of the creature at Fort De Soto Park, near the city of St Petersburg. Sheriff’s deputies were alerted to reports of a woman riding a manatee in the waterway just north of the Gulf Pier. When they arrived on the scene, they could not locate the woman and asked for the public’s assistance in identifying her. Witnesses in the area were able to give the deputies a description, including photos, of the suspect and where she was last seen.
Gutierrez later called the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center to say she wanted to turn herself in. Deputies met her at her home, where she admitted the offense, claiming she was new to the area and did not realize it was against the law to touch or harass manatees. The deputies explained the law to her regarding manatees and the possible penalties for violating such laws. They explained to her that charges would be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Interfering with the mammal is regarded as a second degree misdemeanor under the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. The Act states it is “unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any manatee”. The offense could result in a maximum prison sentence of 60 days, but the manatee is not believed to have been harmed.
Ok, where to begin.. In her defense I do not think I would be aware of such a law. I doubt the manatee knew either, and who knows, maybe he was looking to be molested. While I do tend to leave such large creatures of the ocean alone, if I was begin sought for this, I’d be leaving for Mexico immediately. Perhaps there I could find a Mexican hairless dog to fondle…..just kidding, fans of PETA !!!
Remember, no matter how bad your day is going, Things could be Worse !!!