Orlando news stations reported over the weekend that Brian Zachary Waddill, 33, was arrested for beating a shark with a hammer late last year. Waddill caught the shark on December 20th at Bicentennial Beach Park in Indian Harbour.
“Video shows a man, presumed to be Waddill, hitting the shark in the head with a hammer repeatedly. The shark was then dragged back into the ocean,” Click Orlando reported.
It was determined that the shark was a Lemon Shark, which is one of 208 protected species in Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission began investigating the situation shortly after the Tuesday afternoon catch was seen on camera footage back in December. Shark fishing is legal in Florida, but their are firm regulations on which sharks can be taken out of water.
The Indian Harbour police department reported that Waddill and another man were out fishing at the time. The Lemon Shark was caught and then beaten with a hammer before being returned back into the ocean.
Witnesses told authorities that “Waddill hit the shark several times with a hammer, then flipped it on its side and used the backside of the hammer to rip the shark’s gills out,” according to the Daily Mail.
What is a Lemon Shark?
The exact size of the shark is unclear from the surf cam video footage. Lemon Sharks can grow to be up to 11 feet, however. They can also exceed 550 pounds. Such sharks are often found in more shallow waters, and Lemon Sharks also are typically found in groups, making this circumstance even more unusual. Their most common body of water is the Atlantic Ocean, from New Jersey down the coastline to Florida. They have also been found along the shorelines of Brazil and West Africa.
Waddill was arrested Friday on two counts of violating FWC rules regarding captive wildlife. The charges are considered misdemeanors. Though he was arrested for beating the shark with the hammer, Waddill was released on $500 bail.