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Open Letter to the 13th Judicial Circuit

We sent the following letter to the Office of the State Attorney for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (email address [email protected]) on December 18, 2017:


To Whom it May Concern,

We are the creators of the petition to prosecute Michael Wenzel, 21, Robert Lee Benac, III, 28, and Spencer Heintz, 23 on aggravated animal abuse charges stemming from the “shark dragging” case as well as the hundreds of prior bad animal abuse incidents that have taken place over the years.

With over a quarter of a million signatures we urged the FWC and the 12th Judicial Circuit to file formal charges. As you are aware these men have been perpetrating vile and heinous acts upon our sea life for years, yet no legal action has ever been taken. This lack of action caused frustration and contempt against our justice system among community members who care so greatly about our beloved wildlife. We believed this lack of action,  evident by the outpouring on social media, was due to the 12th Circuit having a conflict of interest with the various public officials and attorneys who were family members of the perpetrators.

In July of 2017 when the “shark dragging” case went viral the Manatee/Sarasota/Bradenton area as well as the State of Florida, the Nation and the world was in total shock and disbelief. How could these men, more specifically, Michael Wenzel be at this again.

Admittingly, the frustration grew because of the lack of communication not by FWC, but by the 12th Circuit. Many thought these individuals would never be punished for the years of terror they have committed against these animals and the fear they instilled in the community.

We believe, indeed, these men, more specifically Michael Wenzel and Bo Benac are a danger to society. Michael Wenzel has exhibited outrageous and extremely criminal behavior that deserves in accordance to our Florida Criminal Code to be punished to the full extent of the law. He does not and should not ever own a firearm. He should be convicted of his crimes and punished fully. Bo Benac should also be convicted and never be able to own a firearm as well. Withhold of Adjudication’s for years of abuse and for years of bringing terror upon this beach community is unacceptable. We believe with Mr. Heintz, he too, should be held fully accountable.

We know the world will be watching. We know from the many thousands of people who have stood by and are shocked that of all places, this would happen in Florida, will be waiting for the outcome in this case. We are grateful it is in the hands of the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney’s Office.

We thank you sincerely for your hard work to make that happen. WTF Florida hopes to restore the faith of Floridians in the justice system by using your Hillsborough County 13th Circuit as an example.

Thank you,

WTF Florida and 258,824+ concerned people

You may find a copy of this letter and public comments here:

(the original email provided a link to the page you’re on right now)


This is not over yet.

While it’s great news that these men were charged, they have not yet been convicted.

You may contact the office of the State Attorney yourself via their website: http://www.sao13th.com/

Politely state your concerns, and try to keep it short. Our main concerns can be expressed with the following example (we encourage you to write your own letter or simply copy/paste the words below and add onto it):

SUBJECT: “Shark Dragging” Case

To whom it may concern,

We believe that Michael Wenzel and Bo Benac are a danger to society. Michael Wenzel has exhibited outrageous and extremely criminal behavior that deserves in accordance to our Florida Criminal Code to be punished to the full extent of the law. He should not ever own a firearm. He should be convicted of his crimes and punished fully. Bo Benac should also be convicted and never be able to own a firearm as well. Withhold of Adjudication’s for years of abuse and for years of bringing terror upon this beach community is unacceptable. We believe with Mr. Heintz, he too, should be held fully accountable.

Thank you.

Open Letter to the 13th Judicial Circuit

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