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Florida Woman Arrested For Riding A Manatee-Authorities Going Too Far? [POLL]

Florida woman arrested for riding a 'sea cow'
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Maybe her husband was jealous?All kidding aside, a St. Petersburg, Florida woman was charged with a misdemeanor from two months ago for allegedly riding on a manatee in Fort DeSoto Park in September. 53 year old Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez was taken into custody at the Sears department store where she works.  She was booked, charged with a misdemeanor and released. Manatees are often referred to as ‘sea cows’ for the slight resemblance between their head and facial features to a cow.

She told authorities she is new to the Florida area, and while visitng DeSoto Park, did not know about an obscure Florida law that treats manatees as endangered sea animal, and forbids (basically) any human physical contact.   Sheriffs officials had posted pictures online and on television during a press conference October 2nd, showing a photograph of a woman (Gutierrez) riding on top of the animal.    She is facing a potential maximum fine of $1,500 and jail time.

The manatee was not injured in the incident, and not available for comment.   Did the authorities go too far?   Witnesses note there is very little signage in the park warning people to leave the creatures alone, and you can be prosecuted for touching them.

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