Girl arrested in tortoise torture incompetent to stand trial

Author: Associated Press
MGN Online

ORANGE PARK, Fla. (AP) – A northeast Florida teen charged with animal cruelty after posting videos of her and a friend setting fire to a legally protected gopher tortoise has been deemed not mentally competent to go on trial.

Prosecutors say the woman has been given a conditional release to receive treatment meant to make her mentally competent so she can be tried.

The 18-year-old woman and her 15-year-old friend were arrested last year on charges of felony cruelty to animals and taking, harassing, harming or killing a gopher tortoise, a threatened species.

The Florida Times-Union ( ) reports that animal rights activists saw the videos the girls posted and alerted wildlife officials.

The videos showed the girls dousing the animal with a flammable fluid and one of them stomping on the animal until its shell broke.

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