UPDATE: Manatee Riding Woman Turns Herself In
PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida -- The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office - Environmental Lands and Marine Enforcement Unit is searching for an unknown female subject who was observed touching and riding a manatee over the weekend at Fort DeSoto Park.
On Sunday, September 30, 2012, at approximately 1:00 p.m., deputies responded to Fort DeSoto Park due to reports of a woman “riding” a manatee in the waterway just north of the Gulf Pier.
When deputies arrived on scene, the woman was unable to be located. Witnesses in the area were able give deputies a description, including photos, of the woman and where she was last seen.
Florida State Statute 379.2431(2)d (Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act) states “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.”
A violation of this statute is a 2nd degree misdemeanor.
No manatees are believed to have been injured.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Charlie Tita of the Environmental Lands and Marine Enforcement Unit at 727-582-6200.