Florida Fish and Wildlife Wants To Jail Man Who Threw Raccoon Off His Boat

The Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking for a way to charge a man who threw a stowaway raccoon off his boat and into the ocean.

The man has apologized for tossing the raccoon off his boat after he posted the video of his actions to social media.

“Thomas Cope, an attorney from Clearwater, said in a statement obtained by WFTS-TV of Tampa Bay that he was sorry for his actions and wished there had been a way to safely bring the raccoon to shore,” Fox News reported.

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In his statement, Cope wrote, “Knowing raccoons can be rabid and unpredictable, the only realistic option we could think of in that moment was to get the raccoon off the boat.”

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Cope said on his initial Facebook post that he was 20 miles out at sea when the raccoon suddenly jumped up out of the boat’s hold where it was hiding.

“Get off my f—ing boat,” viewers can hear a man yelling on the video Cope posted. “We’re just going to have to push him off.”

The video then shows the raccoon paddling in the water.

“So long, sucker,” the man on the video then said.

Then came this:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission learned of the video on May 8 and began an investigation, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“It is still too early to speculate as to what violations took place in this incident,” the agency said in a statement. “However, the FWC would like to state that we believe these vile acts of animal cruelty have no place in our state or anywhere else.”

Still, I would imagine that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Dept. has no move to make. If the boat was really 20 miles out to sea, then that is in international waters and Florida has no jurisdiction.

International waters start at 12 nautical miles (or just over 13 land miles). So, I would think the wildlife dept. can’t do a thing to Mr. Cope.

But this incident does serve as a warning, nonetheless.


Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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