Fla. woman arrested for allegedly riding manatee

Ana Gutierrez says she didn't realize she was breaking law

Published On: Nov 24 2012 09:36:28 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 26 2012 05:12:41 AM EST
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -

A St. Petersburg woman has been charged with violating Florida law by riding a manatee.

Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant Saturday.

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies say she was photographed riding the manatee at Fort De Soto Park last September.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri held a press conference a few days later asking for the public's help in identifying the woman.

Gutierrez called deputies and allegedly admitted touching the endangered sea mammal.

She told them she was new to the area 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.