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Lawyer Laughs While Chasing Terrified Raccoon to Drowning Death

Thomas Cope and the raccoon he chased into the ocean to die. (Portrait of Cope from flatrials.com)

Clearwater (WTFF) – A viral video featuring a man shooing a frightened raccoon into the ocean to drown has launched an FWC investigation.

Clearwater lawyer Thomas Cope first posted the cruel video to Facebook, where it was copied by several accounts.

“Get off my fucking boat!” Cope yells at the petrified raccoon as it scurries around the bow.

“We’re just going to have to push him off,” he says behind the camera.

Cope continues yelling at the poor creature, chasing it away until it falls off the boat into the ocean.

The video zoomed in to show the raccoon paddling for dear life.

“So long, sucker,” hissed Cope as he watched the mammal struggle to stay afloat.

The boat was “well offshore,” about 20 miles out, according to Cope’s original Facebook post. (Tampa Bay Times)

There was a great deal of laughter coming from Cope and his friends.

Thomas Cope works at the Cope Zebro & Crawford, P.L. law firm, a professional limited liability company. Attorneys using P.L. after their name are better protected against malpractice suits. Cope started out as a prosecutor and then worked for a Florida insurance defense firm, according to his bio.


The personal injury lawyer “apologized,” according to the Tampa Bay Times, claiming in a statement that “the animal was running around the boat hissing and growling, making it impossible for me or my friend to drive the boat.”

He continued by saying, “Knowing raccoons can be rabid and unpredictable, the only realistic option we could think of in the moment was to get the raccoon off the boat.”

“I feel bad for the animal and I’m sorry for what I did,” he added.

Cope quickly removed his personal and company Facebook pages after the incident, according to a post.

Many news stations such as Orlando Weekly and WFLA reported on the viral raccoon video.

Joe Patrice, the senior editor at Above the Law wrote an article in Cope’s defense, saying, “I’m not sure it’s fair to fault this guy for not coming up with the best plan while a furry rabies vector ran around his boat.” The blog post did not mention the fact that Cope was laughing and taking sadistic pleasure in the demise of the animal.

Joe Patrice, sympathizes with Thomas Cope (abovethelaw.com)

The FWC said they are currently investigating the incident, and that they take it very seriously.

“It is still too early to speculate as to what violations took place in this incident,” the wildlife agency’s statement said. “However, the FWC would like to state that we believe these vile acts of animal cruelty have no place in our state or anywhere else.”

Anyone with new information is asked to call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

The Florida Bar has opened an investigation into what Thomas Cope did with the raccoon, but did not specify what part of the rules of professional conduct his actions might have violated, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

This Florida Bar investigation comes on top of another one launched on May 8 by the FWC.

The Care2 Team started a petition to draw attention to this vile act. You can sign it here to encourage the Florida Bar Association and the FWC to investigate the man who caused this raccoon’s death.

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3 years ago

You are simply a straight up douche bag Cope. You are a shining example of why the human race is deplorable. Bastard.

Nickolaus Pacione
Nickolaus Pacione
3 years ago

Sonny finding this one and taking him down. You need to get this in the hands of Gordon Watts of The Ledger, in Chicago a racoon are a hard to keep pet though this one would had a lot of those who keep them as pets wanting to gun for him, how many years you think he’s getting?

“What did you do buddy?”

“I know what you did, get the hell out of my face you crosseyed whabulance chaser!”

4 years ago

He is the true meaning of a deplorable human. Despicable and I hope Karma teaches him a lesson!

Scooby Snax
Scooby Snax
4 years ago

There’s one explanation for the entire incident – he’s an ambulance chasing lawyer. What do you call a lawyer at the bottom of Tampa Bay? A good start!!

5 years ago

He was enjoying watching the poor animal suffer and die. Aside from the fact that he’s a soulless individual, What kind of moron issues an apology that is clearly refuted by the video he himself posted?

5 years ago

All I know is I would have found a way to keep it contained whether in a box, net or whatever he could have found on that boat. He is a disgrace to the profession and human race to take pleasure in this animals demise. Shame on him. Even though I feel he should pay penalties or even suspension, I don’t think he should lose his license if he makes amends.

5 years ago

Honestly, I don’t believe his apology! He knew what he was doing! That poor raccoon lost his life because someone couldn’t turn the boat around and head for an island or some kind of land instead he wanted to be cruel. People like this make me sick! What if that were your animal and some idiot did that to him/her? I don’t care if you are a lawyer you should be ashamed of yourself, laughing at a poor defenseless animal! It’s people like you who make this world the way it is!!!! You could of thought of many ways to save you he animal come on your a lawyer you are supposed to think fast and quick! You have a brain use it! Think before you do! Jerk!