Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller may find himself in big trouble thanks to a photo he posted with a bloody hammerhead shark after a recent fishing trip in Florida.
Harvesting hammerhead sharks is a second-degree misdemeanor in the state and is punishable by up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail as determined by a judge, according to ABC News.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reviewing images and video footage obtained from the trip in order to determine “whether or not a violation occurred in this incident,” said Carol Lyn Parrish, the public information coordinator for the commission.
There is reportedly footage of Miller’s group trying to put the shark back into the water; however, it’s unclear whether it was injured, dead, or alive.
Apparently, Miller is a hunting and fishing enthusiast who often posts his adventures on social media, which would imply that he also knows the laws and the consequences of breaking them.
The issue was brought to the commission’s attention by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Stephanie Bell, senior director of PETA’s cruelty investigation department, told USA Today Sports that hammerhead sharks are especially sensitive to capture stress.
“So when these animals are caught and released, they frequently die,” she said.
She added: “And we believe based on the images that this animal likely did not survive his encounter even though he was released into the water. These hooked animals, even when it’s unintentional, they endure pretty serious physical injuries. Their flesh and their cartilage can rip. They start suffocating when they’re dragged out of the water. And even just the stress of all of that can cause them to die of shock.”
Miller has not commented publicly on the investigation as of yet. However, as an avid fisherman, it is, likely, safe to presume he didn't cause intentional harm to the shark. Nevertheless, this experience should serve as a reminder to be more careful and respectful of wildlife.
Animal safety is much more important than getting the perfect Instagram picture for "likes."
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/PRNewsFoto