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Victory! Tiny Turtles Rescued

Written by PETA | September 24, 2009

Thanks to a sharp-eyed shopper and the quick work of PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department, baby turtles have been rescued from a store in NYC’s Chinatown.




These little guys were small—so small that it’s actually illegal to sell them—yet they were being hawked as “pets” to unwitting tourists who often don’t have a clue about how to take care of such delicate animals.

And that’s where the concern of one compassionate citizen really made a difference. She wasn’t an expert on turtle care, but after visiting the store, this young woman knew that these turtles were being inhumanely treated. Not only were they tiny, they were being kept in little plastic containers with very little water and nothing else. They were also living outside the shop in direct sunlight for most of the day.

After hitting a brick wall with local officials, the young lady called PETA. Faster than you can say “salmonella souvenirs” (according to the FDA, there are more than 74,000 “pet” turtle–related cases of human salmonella poisoning every year), a PETA cruelty caseworker got the DOH to respond ASAP. That same day, the agency seized eight of the turtles and issued citations to the seedy store for violating New York State Department of Health codes that make it illegal to sell turtles smaller than 4 inches long.

Now living large at a turtle sanctuary, these eight tiny turtles have been given the opportunity to live out their lives in luxury. But there are still aquatic animals who need our help. Won’t you tell Brookstone head honchos to get their heads out of their, er, shells and end the sale of Frog-O-Spheres today?

Written by Amy Elizabeth

Commenting is closed.
  • Turtle Lover says:

    “Where can I report a shop that sells these baby red ear turtles?”

    Call the regional FDA (Food and Drug Administration) office to lodge a consumer complaint.  Then call the state or county healthy department, and/or animal control and/or state wildlife agency.  It’s illegal to sell red-eared sliders (or turtles or baby turtles) on the state level in at least 10 states, and it’s illegal to sell baby turtles (under 4″) on the federal level.

  • Jill says:

    In Costa Rica: natives are stealing Sea Turtle eggs by the hundreds and selling them! Dozens and Dozens of Potato sacks filled with eggs. The nets are horrible as well. I rec’d an email with many pics (worth a thousand words)..please try to get the fluff news to report this!

  • Maggie says:

    Can this Chinese gift shop get away with selling a few containers? They hid the rest in boxes… It’s So sad…..

  • Maggie says:

    Where can I report a shop that sells these baby red ear turtles?

  • Carl says:

    It’s illegal in ALL 50 STATES to sell baby turtls as pets. If you see it at the very least call the reginonal FDA office the number is in the blue pages of any phone book or you can get it online. If you want a pet turtle visit to adopt one

  • steph says:

    they sell these turtles ever 2 feet in NYC Chinatown. I am so happy that these guys were saved but there are proly hundreds more down Mott Street alone. And that store proly started selling more the next day….they just don’t care I wish they would REALLY crackdown on this. Hopefully if enough people keep reporting it…and actually getting authorities to DO something…things will get better for animals in Chinatown.

  • Tempest Phebus says:

    Alex you can also call Walmart it’s self and tell them they are not giving their fish the proper amount of water. Those little Betta’s can swim in little little spaces because they’re from tiny rice fields. Which reminds me I need to give my boy fresh water!! Yey safe turtles though!!

  • Alex says:

    I have seen Siamese fighting fish in small plastic containers at WalMart where the water was so low that many of the fish were partly exposed to the air. Another few hours and the water would have evaporated to the point that they probably would have died. I went to the customer service desk and asked to speak to the manager who said they would do something but their attitude made me think that they didn’t mean it. I saw this again another time. This is in Ontario Canada. Can anybody tell me what I can do about it the next time I see this? Does PETA have presenceinfluence here?

  • Anna says:

    I live in Los Angeles and see these turtles being sold all the time in makeshift pet stores and in the most horrible conditions. Does anyone have any information on whom I can contact? The same goes with reptiles puppies hamsters and bunnies.

  • Dawn Mason says:

    That’s great news!

  • Ileana says:

    YOU NEED TO GET TO THE ALLEYS in the Fashion District of LA. They sell bunnies.turtles.hamsters.lizards.snakes. And they are in the heat no food and are kept in cages where they can’t even turn around!

  • Mary says:

    This is happening in a dollor store in the city of Lancaster PA too. I phone our Humane League of Lancaster County a couple yrs ago about it and I honestly don’t even think they sent anyone out to investigate. All they told me was that ‘some other woman had also told them about it a wk or 2 prior.’. My grandson’s family went to Florida and a petstore there was selling baby turtles. They bought one and snuck it on a plane! Incidentally the little guy is doing pretty well…we helped them set up a proper tank and daughter and I bought all the equipment the turtle needed to thrive. But I really hate how they acquired it. They had no idea it was illegal. Many ppl still don’t.

  • Michele says:

    GREAT JOB! A lot of times people dont realize that these turtles in tiny plastic boxes or bunnies in tiny cages are actual LIVING BEINGS. They’re separated from their families WAY too early to be sold to people who treat them like cheap toys

  • Wade says:

    I saw those turtles recently when I was volunteering in Thailand and they were kept in awful conditions. Is there anything I can do about that? I remember the addresssuburb of the place these animals were kept.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Innumerable turtles have been mistreated mishandled and neglected as pets and most invariably die due to human recklessness and disrespect.

  • Celine says:

    YES! I agree with Meg! I’ve been to Los Angeles Chinatown when I was young and saw turtles as small as that being sold there.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Great!! Now lets get together on the West Coast and do this in Los Angeles Chinatown!!! PLEEEASE!!!