Florida woman faces jail for playing with a sea creature

Ana Gloria Garcia-Gutierrez 
By: Devansh Dutt 

(Scroll down for video) A woman faces jail after she was caught playing with a fish at sea, according to police reports.

The Florida woman, who was photographed riding a manatee in Fort De Soto Beach, near Tampa Bay, was arrested Saturday, on a court order, authorities said.

Ana Gloria Garcia-Gutierrez, 53, of St. Petersburg, was arrested at a Sears store where she works on suspicion of violating the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, according to the Sheriff's Office of Pinellas County.

Witnesses in the area at the time notified police of the incident and were able to give deputies a description, including photographs of the woman and her location in the water.

During an interview with deputies, Garcia-Gutierrez admitted to playing and riding the manatee, claiming she was new to the area at the time and did not realize it was against state law to touch or harass manatees.

The Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act reads in part: "It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means or in any manner to intentionally or negligently annoy, abuse, harass, or disturb or attempt to disturb, harass or annoy any manatee.”

Gutierrez was released on $1,500 bail, according to press reports. The maximum penalty is a $500 fine and six months in jail.



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