Woman photographed riding a manatee in Florida is arrested
A St. Petersburg, Fla., woman was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant Saturday after being photographed two months ago riding a manatee.
Florida’s Manatee Sanctuary Act protects the endangered sea mammal and says in part, “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.”
Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 53, was taken into custody without incident at a Sears department store where she works, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident first came to the public’s attention when Sheriff Bob Gualtieri held a news conference on Oct. 2 and asked for help in identifying the woman photographed riding the manatee at nearby Fort De Soto Park in late September.
Gutierrez has admitted touching the endangered sea mammal, the sheriff’s office said. She told deputies that she was new to the area at the time and didn’t know it was illegal to touch a manatee. The manatee was not hurt.
The maximum penalty is a $500 fine and six months in jail. Gutierrez was released on $1,500 bail, the Associated Press reported.
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