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Alleged Manatee Rider Arrested

Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez was arrested Nov. 24 and charged in connection with an illegal ride on a manatee at Fort De Soto Park in late September.

A woman accused of riding a manatee was arrested Nov. 24 and charged with violating the Manatee Sanctuary Act.

Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 53, had been photographed sitting on and riding a manatee in Fort De Soto Park on Sept. 30.

After her picture had been published by media sources, Gutierrez turned herself in to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on Oct. 2. Her charges were then forwarded to the State Attorney's Office.

The State Attorney's Office issued a warrant for her arrest on Saturday, Nov. 24, and she was arrested that day at her place of employment at the Sears in Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg.

Gutierrez had claimed to be new to the area and didn't realize touching manatees was illegal at the time she turned herself in. Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies explained to her the laws protecting manatees and possible consequences.

According to the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, it is unlawful for any person to intentionally or negligently disturb a manatee in any way. Violations are considered second degree misdemeanors. The animals are listed as endangered.

Beach goers who saw Gutierrez astride a manatee had summoned park rangers, who contacted deputies. By the time they arrived, Gutierrez had dropped out of sight.

MJL December 06, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Who pays for the State Attorney's Office? You! And this is how you want them to spend their time? Given budget cutbacks, slower response times to 911 calls, criminals and drugs on the streets, I suggest that we focus our attention to more pressing matters. Yes, the woman made a mistake, yes, she did the wrong thing, yes, she will get a fine. I say focus our energy where we can help people make St. Pete a better place to live. Sheesh!
Larry Plants December 26, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I real don`t think this hurt the Manatee in any way,she should have been fined ,but being arrested was uncalled for,,there are too many real criminals that should be arrested
Anne Cobb aka www.thepostcardlady.com February 22, 2013 at 08:51 AM
They didn't ruin her life, she did that all by herself. She did what she wanted for her own selfish reasons, so if she walked into your yard and took your pet because she wanted to, or just decided you were at the beach. She walked over and pick up something of yours, I guess thats ok, right Get a life it doesn't matter what the other people do as far as taking a picture of the things she did, it does matter that what she did was wrong and punishable, no ones looking for fame. She was wrong, period.
Get a life February 22, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Oh my word Anne, She wasn't stealing anything from anyone. That was Sooo not a good analogy. Yes she was wrong, but so is not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. She should have gotten a ticket not jail. And yes, Steve was bragging in a post about the pictures he took and then put the link to his website up so he could sell his pictures. How selfish is that to turn someone in then try to capitolize on it. He took his post down though once everyone started making comments about it.
Get a life February 22, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Riding a 500 animal is not animal cruelty, or riding a horse would be considered animal cruelty.

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