Two Orange Park teens have been arrested for abusing and killing a gopher tortoise.
They allegedly took a video of the attack and it quickly went viral. The video appears to show the girls lighting the tortoise on fire and then throwing it to the ground and stomping on it. Law enforcement has verified that through their investigation.
“We had to put together the best case we possibly could to present to the State Attorney’s Office,” says Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Public Information Coordinator Karen Parker.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was alerted about the video July 15 and began investigating. Along with the State Attorney’s Office and Clay County Sheriff’s Office, they determined to file felony and misdemeanor charges against the teens in the video.
15-year-old Danielle Dionne and 18-year-old Jennifer Greene have been arrested for felony cruelty to animals, and a misdemeanor charge of taking, harassing, harming or killing a gopher tortoise.
“We want people to know that we take these issues extremely seriously,” Parker says.
The arrest report obtained by WOKV says the tortoise’s body was found in the front yard of one of the teens. The tortoise is a protected species.
Dionne will be tried in juvenile court, but Greene could face up to five years in prison for the felony count and 60 days in prison or a $500 fine for the misdemeanor charge, if convicted.