Woman Turns Herself In For Illegal Manatee Ride

The photo above was released this week by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Ft. De Soto, Florida. It's hard to see here, but the woman is riding a wild manatee. Did you know that riding a manatee is illegal? I didn't, but then I don't often encounter manatees. According to Florida state law, "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." Doing so is a second-degree misdemeanor.

After the photo circulated, Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez turned herself in, claiming that she had no idea that encountering a wild animal and hopping on for a ride was a criminal offense. 

Gutierrez was not arrested or charged, but the charges were referred to the state attorney's office, according to the Times.

Authorities say the penalty for the woman could be up to 60 days in jail and a possible fine of $500.

Authorities don't believe any manatees were injured.

Link | Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

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