Sheriff's office searching for woman who 'rode' manatee - CBS 5 - KPHO

Sheriff's office searching for woman who 'rode' manatee

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Pinellas County, FL (Bay News 9) -- The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is searching for a woman who tried to ride a manatee at Fort DeSoto Park during the weekend.

According to deputies, the unidentified woman violated the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, which states "It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any Manatee."

The violation is a second degree misdemeanor.

Officials said they do not believe any manatees were injured when the woman was touching and climbing on the animals in the waters just north of the Gulf Pier on Sunday, just after 1 p.m.

The Sheriff's Office was contacted a short time later.

The woman was gone by the time deputies arrived but witnesses were able to give a description of the woman, which included photographs of her in the water with the manatees.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Charlie Tita of the Environmental Lands and Marine Enforcement Unit at 727-582-6200.

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