Woman turns self in after photographed riding manatee near Gulf River
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. â€”
WFTV learned a woman who broke the law by riding on the back of a manatee has turned herself in to authorities in the Tampa area.
The woman was seen riding on the back of a manatee in the Fort Desoto Park waterway, just north of the Gulf River on Sunday.
According to the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, "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."
WFTV learned that a violation of the statute is a second-degree misdemeanor.
Late Tuesday, Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez admitted to riding the manatee and turned herself in.
But said she's new to the area and didn't know it's a misdemeanor to annoy, disturb or harass manatees.
Deputies said the manatee was not injured.
Prosecutors will decide if she'll be charged.