3 Florida men in shark-dragging plead not guilty

Video goes viral after fisherman posts it online

TAMPA, Fla. - Three Florida men have pleaded not guilty to charges connected to a video of a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat.

Michael Wenzel, 21, and Spencer Heintz, 23, of Palmetto, along with Robert Lee Benac, 28, of Bradenton, each face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Wenzel and Benac also face a misdemeanor count of illegal method of taking a shark.

In a Tampa Bay Times report , Wenzel's attorney, Stephen Crawford, said none of the men appeared at Wednesday's hearing in Hillsborough County court. Their lawyers entered the not guilty pleas on their behalf.

The video went viral in late July after a Miami sport fisherman criticized it on social media. Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined the dragging took place June 26 in state waters off Egmont Key.

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