Two teen girls accused of lighting a threatened gopher tortoise on fire and stomping it to death in a videotaped incident have been arrested, authorities said Friday.
Jennifer Emoke Green, 18 and a 15-year-old girl are facing charges of felony cruelty to animals and taking harassing and killing a gopher tortoise, a second-degree misdemeanor, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
Videos posted on Facebook showed the Orange Park girls dousing the tortoise with a flammable fluid and laughing as the creature tries to get away from the flames.
A second video shows one of the girls stomping on the animal until its shell breaks and it's dead.
The FWC received a tip about the incident on July 15 and worked with the State Attorney’s Office of the Fourth Judicial Circuit in the investigation.
"We take these issues very seriously," Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, said in a statement. "We appreciated the help from the public and our partners in working to protect our valuable natural resources."
Green faces up to five years in prison plus up to 60 days in jail and or a $500 fine on the misdemeanor charge. The 15-year-old is being prosecuted in the juvenile system.