JACKSONVILLE, Florida -- The teenage girls accused of torturing a state-protected tortoise were arrested Friday, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
FWC investigated the incident after a video of two teens torturing a helpless gopher turtle went viral. A public outcry followed.
18-year-old Jennifer Emoke Greene and a 15-year-old juvenile, both from Orange Park, are accused of being the teens in that video.
They were arrested on charges of cruelty to animals, a third degree felony, and taking, harassing, harming or killing a gopher tortoise, a second degree misdemeanor, according to FWC.
"We take these issues very seriously, "said Col. Calvin Adams, director of FWC's Division of Law Enforcement. "We appreciated the help from the public and our partners in working to protect our valuable natural resources."
"We will not tolerate this behavior in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. We are committed to fully prosecuting those responsible for the torture and death of this vulnerable and threatened species," said State Attorney Angela Corey.
According to the FWC, if convicted Greene faces up to five years in prison on the animal cruelty charge. The misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
The 15-year-old's case will be prosecuted in the juvenile system.