The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a raccoon falling from a boat after the boaters cornered the animal pressing it into falling off the boat into the water.
“Get off my f—— boat,” the man yelled at the frightened raccoon, that ran around the bow. “We’re just going to have to push him off.”
The man continued to shout. Then the raccoon appeared to fall off the boat. The video zoomed in on the raccoon paddling in the water, trying to stay afloat.
“So long, sucker,” the man said.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, the raccoon is presumed having drowned, and the man recording the video, Clearwater lawyer Thoman Cope has since issued an apology for his actions. Originally posted to the Facebook group, Center Consoles Only, animal advocates quickly shared the video online while condemning the action about leaving any animal to swim and subsequently drown in the ocean as animal cruelty.
“The FWC was alerted to a video by a tip from the public on May 8 which is circulating on social media sites, showing a group of individuals with a raccoon on their vessel.
It is still too early to speculate as to what violations took place in this incident, 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.
The FWC takes this very seriously and is currently investigating the incident. Anyone with additional information about this incident is asked to contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888.404.3922 or Tip@MyFWC.com.
Cope, who is a personal injury attorney in Clearwater has admitted to the video and has since released an apology:
“The animal was running around the boat hissing and growling, making it impossible for me or my friend to drive the boat,” Cope wrote. “Knowing raccoons can be rabid and unpredictable, the only realistic option we could think of in the moment was to get the raccoon off the boat…
I apologize for my actions on the boat earlier this week. I sincerely wish there was some way I could have safely returned to shore to release the raccoon.
I feel bad for the animal and I’m sorry for what I did.”
The video can be viewed here. (Copy and paste the link below to view)
(Photos of raccoon falling from a boat via freezeshots from video)
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