Florida animal rights group confronts fisherman, throw his catch back into water.
Police showed up but no charges were filed
A family in Florida was left outraged this week after a group of animal welfare activists confronted them while they were fishing at a park in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Bob Hope was fishing with his parents at Crescent Lake Park when the dispute with vegan activists began. Two videos of the incident, including one filmed by Hope’s mom and one filmed by the activists, were shared on social media.
Hope told ABC Action News that he and his family were fishing for dinner and had caught a tilapia when a young boy approached them and said, “You know fish feel pain, and you’re hurting that fish.”
A group of protesters, some wearing blue shirts that read “Animal liberation now,” appeared. One of the members, Mike Leaming, grabbed the fish and threw it back into the lake. The family was waiting for Hope’s brother to return to the lake with a bucket for the fish.
“We were suddenly ambushed and harrased by these nut jobs,” Hope wrote on Facebook along with the video below that shows a portion of the confrontation. “They literally pushed my mothers leg and stole the fish and threw it into the water.”
The protesters chanted, “It’s not food, it’s violence” and “Fish feel pain, just like us,” as a man in a blue shirt, identified by the Tampa Bay Times as Mike Leaming, argued with several people.
In the video, it can be heard, the group is a local chapter of the national animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere.
The same group of people who protested at a Chick-fil-A less than 10 miles from the lake earlier. The group entered the restaurant with fake knives and blood splatter and screamed at customers in protest of Chick-fil-A’s Cow Appreciation Day special, which offered free entrees to customers who wore cow costumes.
St. Petersburg police responded to the altercation in the park, but said no laws were broken.
The St. Petersburg Police Department issued the following statement:
“When the officer arrived, the protesters were already getting in their cars. The primary concern for the officer was to restore the peace and the officer didn’t witness any disorderly conduct or criminal activity.
The officer documented the call as well as the names, addresses, and auto tag numbers of the principal protesters.
Whether one agrees with the message or not, any group has a right to free speech in a public park. The officer acted appropriately under the circumstances.”
Bob hope’s facebook post:
So, this afternoon, i decided to have my family come down to St Pete to have a nice family day of fishing.
We were at Crescent Lake Park enjoying ourselves and my dad actually caught a nice 4 lb tilapia of which we had hoped to later have a meal out of. He asked my brother to run and fetch the bucket to put this fish in when we were suddenly ambushed and harrased by these nut jobs!!!
They literally pushed my mothers leg and stole the fish and threw it into the water.
Heres a little video of some of the incident. Even strangers in the park were coming to our defense.
I called the police, but the woman who came did not want to end up on video so she said she was doing nothing.
I sure wish a few of my friends who are Pinellas Counties finest had answered this call. What do you guys think? Comment away.