Brian Waddill, the Florida man who beat a shark to death with a hammer last year has managed to evade jail time for his crime.
Instead, the judge sentenced Waddill to an interesting punishment – he’ll have to donate money to a zoo and take a fishing course. He’ll also be placed on supervised probation for 12 months.
As part of the punishment, Waddill has been banned from fishing for a year, he’ll have to make a $250 donation to the Brevard County Zoo, and take the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation’s shore-based shark fishing course. The judge also instructed that Waddill undergo a psychiatric evaluation and follow any procedures recommended by the doctors.
Waddill was first arrested in December of 2022. He was reportedly shore fishing at Bicentennial Beach Park in Indian Harbor Beach and caught what’s believed to be a protected lemon shark. Waddill viciously beat the shark to death with his hammer, repeatedly hitting it over the head and even ripping out its gills. A nearby surf camera caught him in the act.
“The FWC takes potential resource violations seriously,” Fish and Wildlife Commission said in a statement. While shark fishing is legal in Florida, there are rules if you’re fishing on a boat or from the shore, a bridge, pier, or jetty. Waddill was charged with two second-degree misdemeanor violations related to the” possession of a prohibited species and a violation regarding the harvest, landing, or sale of a shark.” In addition to probation, he must pay court costs and fines in the amount of $412 by June 2024.
When shore fishing, as Waddill was doing, the FWC requires anyone 16 and older, including those 65 and older, to pass an online course and to obtain a permit. In a Facebook statement after the arrest, the City of Indian Harbour Beach Police Department wrote: “For those who are unaware of the incident in question, two (2) males were observed catching a shark while shore fishing, bringing the shark to shore, hitting the shark over the head with a hammer, and then dragging the shark back into the water and releasing it.”
“The Indian Harbour Beach Police Department would like to thank those who notified us of this incident so we could take appropriate action. We ask everyone to allow FWC to handle this matter and refrain from addressing anyone involved personally.” It is not clear if a second person was also charged.
“My co-worker and I were just stunned to see that this was happening right in front of our property,” said Faith Madsen to Fox News, a wedding planner at Harbour House Oceanfront Venue. “I went out to see what he had caught. He had reeled in a 5-6 foot shark and pulled it all the way up the sand, removed the hook, and took a hammer and started beating the shark over the head,” she said.
“To see something like that happen to an animal as someone who grew up here, who also fishes and have friends who do this, was just disturbing and horrifying,” she said.
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This article by Yelena Mandenberg was first published by The Mirror on 12 October 2023. Lead Image: A surf cam captured a man beating a shark with a hammer, resulting in his arrest (Image: Getty Images).