Three people were charged with animal cruelty Tuesday in connection to a July video that showed a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat. The announcement was made by officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and prosecutors from the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office.

The accused were identified as Michael Wenzel, 21, and Spencer Heintz, 23, of Palmetto; and Robert Lee Benac, 28, of Bradenton. All three men face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty while Wenzel and Benac also face a misdemeanor count of an illegal method of taking a shark.

"As we've said since this video and other images came to light, these actions have no place in Florida, where we treasure and conserve our natural resources for everyone," FWC chairman Bo Rivard said in a statement. "We appreciate the patience and support of the public as our law enforcement investigators worked with the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office to identify a number of serious violations that will be brought to the courts for adjudication. It is our hope these charges will send a clear message to others that this kind of behavior involving our fish and wildlife will not be tolerated."

The FWC said that the men were charged after an investigation was conducted into the video and "other disturbing images on social media involving shocking disregard for Florida's natural resources." The investigation involved exhaustive research into the suspects' social media activity and numerous interviews.

Andrew H. Warren, state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, said in the release: "The State Attorney’s Office is committed to holding these men accountable for having engaged in such senseless and unjustifiable animal cruelty. We thank the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for their work in investigating these crimes, and we stand with them, along with Florida’s fishing and hunting communities, and all those who cherish our precious natural resources, in condemning the torture of our marine wildlife."

The video went viral shortly after it surfaced online and showed the shark whipping wildly throughout the water as it was being pulled by a rope. Multiple men were heard laughing in the background, with one saying, "look, it’s already almost dead."

"I was outraged by the sickening video of a shark being horribly abused earlier this year. Florida has no tolerance for this mistreatment, and I am proud of the hard work of FWC law enforcement during this investigation to hold these individuals accountable for their horrific actions," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, according to CBS affiliate WJAX-TV.

Eric Hovland, the Florida Aquarium’s associate curator, said the video made his "stomach flip," and described it as "animal lynching."

"It’s flipping and tossing around," Hovland said of the shark in the video. "It looks like it’s even been roped by the tail. I mean this just wasn’t hooked on a line and accidentally dragged. This was purposeful and tragic."

The video sparked outrage on social media, with many users calling the act "wrong" and "disgusting."