Local PD Nabs Award for Turtle Rescue; PETA Shells Out Tips for Moving Animals OFF Roads

For Immediate Release:
May 14, 2024

Maddy Missett 202-483-7382

South Windsor, Conn.

Ahead of World Turtle Day (May 23), a Compassionate Police Department Award is on its way from PETA to the South Windsor Police Department in recognition of Officers Erika Kuzara and Kaitlyn Pierpont, who helped a snapping turtle safely cross a busy road. On May 1, Kuzara spotted the turtle near Lake Street and Doria Lane and the quick-thinking officers gently scooped her up using a shovel and moved her off the road.

As egg-laying season commences, more turtles and tortoises will be crossing roadways to return to their nesting grounds—and PETA is encouraging everyone to be on the lookout for them. Dodging traffic can be deadly for these slow-moving animals, so the group is offering the following tips for anyone who sees a turtle attempting to cross a road:

  • Pull over to a safe location, turn on your hazard lights, and make sure that traffic is clear before venturing out onto the road.
  • Pick up small turtles by gently holding their shell with both hands between their front and hind legs. Large snapping turtles have long necks and can bite hard, so instead of picking them up, guide them to safety by gently pushing them from behind with a blunt object.
  • Escort turtles in the direction that they’re heading. Don’t try to make them change course, as they have a destination in mind and will simply try to cross the road again if placed back where they started from.
  • Once they’re safe on the other side of the road, leave them alone. Don’t relocate turtles to new locations.
  • Never assume that a turtle who has been hit by a car is dead—even if they’re bleeding or their shell is crushed. Turtles have a super-slow metabolism and can suffer for weeks before dying. Test for a reaction by pinching a back toe or gently touching the corner of an eyelid. Injured turtles should be contained and transported to a veterinary clinic or an animal shelter right away.
Award featuring a photo of a turtle

“Like chickens, turtles and tortoises cross the road to get to the other side, so anyone who stops to help should move them in the direction they were already going,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA applauds Officers Kuzara and Pierpont for their compassion and urges everyone to follow their example by staying alert when they’re driving and always stopping when they see an animal in need.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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