Pinellas County, FL – The woman who rode a manatee has been arrested over a month after the incident took place, according to ABC Action News.
Ana Gloria Gutierrez thought it would be a good idea to hop on the back of a manatee off the coast of Florida for a laugh. Since the 53-year-old woman claimed she was new to the area, she said she was unaware of any laws that prohibited such behavior.
Regardless of her ignorance of the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, Gutierrez was placed under arrest on Saturday for the crime she committed back in September. The charges are now in the hands of the folks at the State’s Attorney’s Office.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the woman was arrested at her job at Sears in St. Petersburg for violating the aforementioned act. She was reportedly taken into police custody without incident.
“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,” the sanctuary act reads.
In September, the suspect turned herself over to authorities after video surfaced of her riding on the back of a manatee near the Gulf Pier in Fort DeSoto Park. Since she knew she was a wanted woman, Gutierrez decided to make things easy for local police.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who said manatees are “a huge part of our culture here in Florida,” was clearly unhappy with the suspect’s behavior.
“Go ride a Jet Ski. Don’t use animals. She needs to be held accountable for her actions,” he explained.
If she’s found guilty of violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, Gutierrez could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
What do you think should happen to the woman who decided to ride a manatee now that’s been arrested for the crime?