Florida Woman Arrested After Social Media Picture Showed Her Riding Endangered Sea Turtle

0927 stephanie mooreseaturtle-jpg-20150926Stephanie Marie Moore, 20, is the latest person who had been felled by a self-inflicted social media wound. Moore’s Snapchat picture riding sea turtles went viral and led to her arrest for animal cruelty this weekend in Melbourne, Florida.

Moore took her turtle ride in July. Her picture led to a torrent of complaints to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which handled the criminal investigation. She has been the subject of an outstanding warrant.

Moore was nailed after Melbourne police officers responded to a disturbance in progress and came across Moore and discovered her active warrant.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

36 thoughts on “Florida Woman Arrested After Social Media Picture Showed Her Riding Endangered Sea Turtle”

  1. Riding horses, camels, oxen, mules (etal) good.

    Riding sea turtles bad.

    What is the governments interest (aside from attempting to criminalize all human activity)?

    What is the mens rea component of Stephanie Marie Moore’s act?

    Has she made an ass of herself? Yes.

    Was it a criminal act? Absolutely not.

  2. Karen S … no argument from me…I’ve learned something I didn’t know, or at least realize, before.

  3. Aridog – it’s true. Female sea turtles have an exhausting ordeal hauling their bulk out of the water, far up the beach, digging a deep pit, and then laying hundreds of eggs. Then they have to bury them, and slog back down the beach. Their eyes stream with tears to protect their eyes from the drying air. This is extremely difficult for them, because they are built to be buoyed by the water. Similarly, large mammals like dolphins and whales have a hard time breathing if they are beached for too long. If it was out of the water, it must have been a female. I do not believe that males ever leave the water after they hatch.

    Riding the turtle could exhaust her enough that it could mean the difference in survival, but there’s no way to know if it went beyond merely a nuisance, because she was not being tracked. I don’t know what species of turtle this is. If it’s one of the endangered ones, then the law is extremely strict about not molesting them in any way. Every breeding female is precious. Hopefully she didn’t disturb any nests. People should stay away from nesting beaches so they don’t crush buried eggs.

    That said, this woman could easily not have understood how her actions could have harmed the turtle. Interacting with one in the ocean is different than squashing it on land. Personally, I’ve always felt like intent should have a part in the filing of animal cruelty charges. I think she was just being thoughtless and trying to be funny.

    People do all sorts of thoughtless things to animals, wild and domestic. You know, like tourists in Yosemite who walk right up to wild bull bison with their tails raised to take their picture, just before getting skewered. Or they hand a sandwich to a black bear that wanders into camp, setting in motion a chain of events that will eventually lead to the bear getting shot or relocated far away from home. They think wild animals are all like Fido.

  4. “40 million cows slaughtered for food each year.”

    Can’t beat a good garlic, herb, pepper rubbed steak. I do hope the cows were put down humanely.

  5. “40 million cows slaughtered for food each year.”

    And for leather, collagen, bones for grafting, cartilage, bone meal. Not to mention that their dung is good for gardening and we get milk, cheese and butter from those that are not going to be slaughtered just yet.

    @ Paul. I like blue cheese and bacon on my hamburger with sweet potato fries on the side They are actually yams but…whatever.

  6. Aaaaah…you’re learnin’…witness the paradox…millions of steers slaughtered for beef, and a girl gets busted for riding a turtle…how about thousands of babies slaughtered in utero each year in this land, who mourns for them?…which one wasn’t protected…the turtle… or the infant in utero?

    1. I just finished a YouGov survey on hamburgers and cheeseburgers. If you picked cheeseburgers as your favorite you got about 20 types of cheese to pick from to be on your burger.

  7. I’m just sayin’,

    40 million cows slaughtered for food each year.

    And this girl’s heinous crime was sitting on a turtle. .

  8. Aridog

    I never had any doubt you would understand.

    If you have a chance, see if you can locate some You Tubes of turtles laboring out of the sea, up the beach, digging a nest, and then burying the eggs. No mother worked harder.

  9. Playing with Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta, are a one way ticket to stand tall before the man. Dr. Archie Carr was the nations leading authority on sea turtles especially Chelonia mydas. His research was done at the beaches of Tortugero in Costa Rica. I have a wonderful carapace and plastron, that was gifted to me years ago, by Dr. Bruce Halstead, of Macrochelys temminckii. The greatest marine zootoxiocogist this nation has produced was Bruce. Bruce did a fair amount of research on the toxic effects that sea turtle had on the consumer, as well as ciguatera fish poisoning from morays and cuda and tetrodotoxin, from puffers.

  10. Mike … point taken. Circumstances always make a difference. I can always learn if others are cogent in their responses. Thanks for the clarity….my knowledge of turtles & tortoises is scant, but less so now.

  11. Judge: Come back to court in two weeks. If you have a tattoo of a sea turtle on your forehead I will dismiss the charges.

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