Florida Men Plead Not Guilty in Shark Dragging Case

Three Florida men arrested after a video of a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat was posted on social media have pleaded not guilty.

Michael Wenzel, Robert Lee Benac and Spencer Heintz didn’t attend Wednesday morning’s arraignment, where their attorneys entered the not guilty pleas, WFLA reported.

Wenzel, 21, Benac, 28, and Heintz, 23, each face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Wenzel and Benac also face a misdemeanor count of illegal method of taking a shark.

The video of the shark being dragged went viral in late July after a Miami sport fisherman criticized it on social media.

In the video released by the FWC, one of the men appears to say “look, it’s already almost dead,” while pointing to the shark flopping across the water behind the speeding boat.

Benac, from Bradenton, and Wenzel and Heintz, of Palmetto, face up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines if convicted.