A couple faces a $5,000 fine all because they saved a baby seal over the weekend.
Mark Hodgdon and Mary Johansson — who hail from Weymouth, Massachusetts — were scuba diving at a Marshfield beach when they noticed a seal that was covered in bite marks.
The duo then decided to bring the seal onto the shore, where they immediately called a volunteer who traveled to the beach from the New England Aquarium.
However, once the volunteer arrived he refused to even touch the seal and then they returned him to the ocean. The couple now face a substantial fine as they have violated the Marine Mammals Protection Act.
Hodgdon and Johansson are adamant that the animal was struggle to keep its head above water and couldn’t even breathe when they came across him.
Hodgdon told Fox 25, “As I got a little bit closer, he just swam closer to me and jumped right up on my shoulder.” He then added that he believes the seal had been attacked by a shark, having come to this conclusion because of the bite marks that were across its body. He added, “You could just tell his whole body was in the shark. It had to have been.”
Johansson recorded the entire incident, and she even captured the moment that the seal pup entered the raft and appeared to give Hodgdon a kiss on his nose.
When the volunteer arrived though the pair were shocked to discover that the volunteer was nonplussed with their discovery. Hodgdon stated, “He turned around and asked me, ‘How do you know he’s really hurt, did you take an X-ray?'”
Johansson then added, “They’re supposed to be there to help these little animals and they did nothing, nothing. It breaks my heart.”
However, a spokeswoman for the New England Aquarium, responded, “We try to not intervene with animals that don’t require rescue. This particular seal pup is right on that line in terms of doing that, but the trained staff that we had sent down there made a decision that he didn’t merit that intervention.”
Johansson believes that he “probably drowned,” whilst they now face a $5,000 fine too.