Animal rights activist guilty of throwing back caught fish

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) – A Florida animal rights activist was found guilty of misdemeanor theft and fined $500 for throwing a fisherman’s tilapia back into the water.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Michael Leaming was found guilty in a non-jury trial Friday.

Leaming and his young son had gone to a park last year after taking part in a protest at a fast-food restaurant. The boy saw Robert Hope had left a fish he had caught on a concrete deck. Leaming’s son told the Hope family, “Did you know fish feel pain?”

Testimony showed Leaming then escalated the argument, finally throwing the tilapia back in the water. He yelled, “Call the police! I just saved a fish’s life.”

Judge Robert Ditmer found Leaming guilty.