Two Florida teenage girls posted a video online that shows them torturing and killing a gopher tortoise, which is a threatened species.
Since the video was posted , multiple complaints were filed with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), prompting an investigation with the State Attorney’s Office. The girls, who attend Ridgeview High School, are now in the custody of the authorities. Their names have not been released.
In the video, which is too graphic and vulgar to be shown, the girls are giggling and smiling about painfully killing a gopher tortoise by burning it alive.
“Let’s light his head on fire,” one girl said.
“Burn baby, burn baby,” one said.
“Now you’re scared of us, huh?” one girl said.
“Ugh, I just want him to die,” one said.
The gopher tortoise is a threatened species, which is just one level over endangered. According to the FWC, this makes the whole situation much worse.
“We certainly don’t want anybody hurting any animal, but they’re a threatened species, and it’s against the law to kill harass or destroy gopher tortoises, their eggs or their burrows,” said FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker.
The father of one of the girls has said that he did not raise his child to be like that, and is horrified and outraged by her actions.
“They’re very remorseful for what they did,” he said. “They’re going to go through the court system and get it all figured out, OK. Whatever the court system hands down, that’s what they’re going to do.”
“That’s sick to do what they did,” he continued. “I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it on TV, and I don’t care. I was there when they found the turtle. I was there when wildlife (came to the house and) talked for an hour. And they know that there’s gonna be a court date coming up, and it’s all going to be handled.”
The father went on to say that he has disabled Facebook and smartphones in the household, due to he numerous threats he has been receiving.