TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Animal rights advocates with the Animal Legal Defense Fund are offering a $5,000 reward for information that will lead to the identification of the person who stabbed and killed a dolphin off the coast of Florida.
On March 24, the bottlenose dolphin was found dead on a Fort Myers beach after it was stabbed in the head with a “spear-like object,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund said that a necropsy found that the dolphin was a lactating female who was likely caring for its calf.
Authorities said the dolphin was in a “begging” position when it was killed, which means its head was above the water with an open mouth.
“Begging is not a natural behavior for dolphins and is frequently associated with illegal feeding,” the NOAA said in an earlier report.
According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, those who kill wild dolphins could face fines up to $100,000 or a year in prison.
“This dolphin’s death was intentional — and the individual(s) responsible must be held accountable,” Executive Director Stephen Wells said. “Animal cruelty is a serious crime, and it is critical for individuals with information to report it to authorities. We commend the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for its diligence in investigating this crime.”
If you have information on the dolphin’s death, call NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement at 1-800-853-1964.
While tips can be made anonymously, the Animal Legal Defense Fund said you must include your name and contact information to be eligible for the reward.