Last year, Robert Hope was spending time with his family at Crescent Lake in St. Petersburg, Florida in which he and his father decided to fish. His father caught a 4 lb. tilapia that he laid on the sidewalk in which someone then showed up with a bucket. A thug with the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) showed up and told Hope he was concerned about the fish. He said Hope should put it back in the water because the fish has feelings.
Hope responded by saying he respected their views but didn’t agree and he and his family were going to go back to fishing. It was at that point six other punks showed up and then told Bob Hope that what he was doing was wrong because the fish was being hurt. At some point, one of the activists did take the fish and threw it back in the water. The group claimed all they were trying to do was save the fish’s life.
Forward to this year, and the main culprit involved in the altercation, Michael Leaming, has been slapped with a $500 fine and court costs after a Pinellas County judge found him guilty of depriving Robert Hope of his dinner. Prosecutors were hoping to pursue stiffer charges that would have involved jail time but could not do so since the park was not located on state land.
Of course Leaming, his attorney and his supporters contend his actions were a rescue but it is unlikely that he will learn his lesson. None the less, it is good to see some semblance of justice rendered on what was clearly an effort to intimidate someone into not consuming fish as part of their diet. A video of the entire incident that took place last year is below.
PHOTO CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons