Purchasing wild caught vs. captive bred tortoises

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Marla

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egyptiandan said:
That would be Strictly Reptiles in Hollywood, FL. Here's the story.

________________________________________________________________________
4) Hollywood Florida Wildlife Dealer (Strictly Reptiles) Convicted And Sentenced For Illegal Turtle Sales
Press Release from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Southeast Region 7/14/08

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, David W. Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Criminal Investigations, Miami Field Office, and Eddie McKissick, Miami
Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, announced that Strictly Reptile, Inc., of Hollywood, Florida, was convicted and sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale for its role in the illegal sale and offer for sale of undersized turtles, contrary to the Public Health Service Act, Title 42, United
States Code, Sections 271(a).

The Honorable William P. Dimitrouleas, United States District Court Judge, accepted Strictly Reptile's plea of guilty and imposed sentence in the matter. Pursuant to a written plea agreement in the case and the Court's Order, Strictly Reptile forfeited almost 7,000 turtles and tortoises seized by government agents at the business on May 2, 2008, in the course of executing a federal search warrant. The company was also ordered to pay immediately a criminal fine of $5,000 and
placed on two years' probation.

The Court further ordered Strictly Reptile to implement a business practice requiring it to secure a signed notice document from every buyer of undersized turtles that they are aware of the legal restrictions placed on the sale or holding for sale of these specimens, and to file semi-annual reports during the period of probation to the Court's Probation Officer, the United States Attorney's Office, the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations and the Fish & Wildlife Service documenting Strictly Reptile's inventory and sales of undersized turtles and providing copies of all invoices and executed notices.

According to the criminal Information and statements in court, turtles, which term under the controlling regulations encompasses all species generally referred to as turtles, tortoises, and terrapins, with the exception of marine sea turtles, are prohibited from being held for sale, intended for sale, or sold, if the turtles have carapace (shell) lengths of less than four inches, unless the sale is for bona fide scientific, educational, or exhibitional purposes, other than use as pets.

According to court statements and the history of the controlling federal regulations, the limitation was put in place in 1975 to deal with the hidden bacteriological threat posed by undersized turtles. Public health investigators had identified undersized turtles as a significant source of salmonella and other infections,particularly in small children who were prone to handling the turtles without washing their hands afterwards, or inserting the turtles into their mouths. In fact, the State of Louisiana, where many "turtle farms" were located historically, implemented state legislation to attempt to improve the sanitation issues associated with the raising and sale of baby turtles.

The Information specifically charged that Strictly Reptile had made a sale of approximately 1,000 undersized turtles on March 3, 2008, from its Hollywood business location to a tourist souvenir business in Panama City, Florida. Strictly Reptile would charge between $2.75 and $3.00 for the turtles it was supplying and the tropical department store would re-sell the turtles for $14.99 each. The government further
alleged that the principal of Strictly Reptile admitted to investigators that he engaged in wilful blindness, that is, intentionally not asking customers the purpose for which the turtles were being purchased in order not to lose sales.

Mr. Acosta commended the coordinated investigative efforts of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of Criminal Investigations, Miami Field Office and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, who with the assistance of FDA's Center For Veterinary Medicine who brought the investigation leading to the Information.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Watts-FitzGerald.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Tom R. MacKenzie/Chief, Media Relations/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Southeast Region/1875 Century Blvd Ste 410/Atlanta, GA 30345-3319/404-679-7291 Fax:404-679-7286 Cell: 678-296-6400
http://www.fws.gov/southeast tom_mack[email protected]

Danny


WOW!!!! Thats a mouth full....
 

oswego tort lover

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thank you dan..the number of chelonians seized is disturbing. whats happened to them? i think selling the water turtles and the numbers mentioned may have caused this. also were they redears as the $ would seem to point to? fl. doesnt want these sold in the state i though i read maybe not. any ways this cant be good for turtle and tort lovers. dan why do you say breeders wouldnt be penalized. i would think $ is $ to gov...............ed......
 

egyptiandan

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Not breeders, but just regular people buying under 4 inch turtles from either this wholesaler or any other for that matter.
Because the FDA can come check on what your doing with the turtle or tortoise you purchased. If they don't feel your doing one of the 3 stipulations (scientific, education or export) that you signed or should have signed a paper for. You can have the animals confiscated.
I don't know whether they would ever go that far, but you never know.
I mean't breeders that portray, think of themselves as or have gone as far as making themselves a business can have that come back and bite them on the butt. Just saying anything under 4 inches you have to use for scientific, education or export doesn't seem like it's going to hold up any more. I would think your going to see a crack down as a result of what Strictly Reptiles did. I have a feeling they will be making every business have their customer sign and return the paper saying that they will be doing one of the 3 (scientific, education or export) with the turtle or tortoise they are purchasing.
The FDA and FW are definately watching the major selling spots on the net.
Not sure where the money comes into play Ed.

Danny
 

Marla

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oswego tort lover said:
thank you dan..the number of chelonians seized is disturbing. whats happened to them?

I really would like to know what happens to the animals taken away..I do worry about them....The out come can't be good...
 

NicholsNINE

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I wonder if my Red Foot was bred or wild caught...

It was given to me as a gift from "Pet Land".
 

egyptiandan

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Your redfoot was most likely captive farmed in the country of origin. So it's captive bred, just not in this country.

Marla I'm afraid confiscated animals are euthanised :(

Danny
 

Jacqui

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chelonologist said:
What are everyone's thoughts on purchasing wild caught tortoises vs. captive bred and hatched tortoises?

My thoughts are IF everything is equal, then I would prefer CB to WC....however that is hardly ever the case.

I honestly and freely admit, I buy most of my animals WC. Some are long term WC, but still WC. Why? Several reasons in my case:

1) Once that animal is out of the wild, it can't go back. Why lose those genes? More importantly, why allow that animal to slowly die in a pet shop or a bad home, if I have room and I believe the ability to give it a better life or to maybe produce offspring that may down the road lessen the need for WC...or maybe help keep them from going extinct.

2) Is there a wild world for them any more? With humans taking over and then changing the environment, are there really places for them to exist? Or are we just fooling ourselves until there aren't wild numbers to even keep the genes alive in captivity?

3) Will the native folks allow them to stay wild? Or will the humans in order to survive eat them, if they can't sell them for money to live on, eat the animals themselves?

4) Are there captive adults for me to buy? I see very few captive bred hatchlings, let alone adults in my primary field of interest...the hingebacks. I personally don't like raising hatchlings, I much prefer working with a stubborn adult.

5) The time factor. For example I have an adult male Bells whom I have had for something like 16 years now. When trying to find a mate for him, I had very limited choices. I did buy a hatchling and am raising it. Normally takes several years to know the gender, let alone get a tortoise up to breeding size in a slow natural growth. Does this male have those years to wait? What if it turns out to be a male and I have to start all over again?

6) Health factor...hmmm for me this is pretty even as a rule between the WC and CB. I personally have been very lucky and have not had any real issues of buying sick animals. *knocking on my wooden head*

Of course I am also the person who doesn't understand some of this country's laws on turtles and tortoises. We say our native populations are dying out, yet we make laws so folks can't breed these so called endangered and threatened animals.

We would rather kill confiscated animals rather then turning them over to caring folks.

I just don't "get" wasting lives of tortoises already here to make a statement about an animal not yet here (and one who may never be born).
 

tortoisenerd

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I bought my RT captive bred as a hatchling because I found it sad that most of the ones in the petstores are imports yadda yadda. I wanted a tort that would be more likely to be healthy and adaptable to captivity, and this was an important decision for us as we're single-pet owners. I'm not planning on getting any more torts or other animals and the little guy is going to be loved for a long time. I didn't want to support the capturing of wild RTs with my purchase. I don't like to walk past animals not kept in the greatest of conditions, but if we just bought them out the stores will acquire more. A different approach is needed such as going through corporate offices. I'd love to see the day of little specialty shops that sell good supplies and healthy animals and have a lot of knowledge of the species.

I think there are times that WC is ok, but I generally don't like the business. Definitely wouldn't blanket statement it because it really varies species to species. I am all for adoptions and rescues and looked extensively in my area. Didn't find any that weren't really sick (needed more care than we could give). Couldn't say no to a little hatchling though and I'm glad he's part of the family. Getting a tortoise is definitely more of a commitment than almost any other pet due to their needs and lifespan. Since I wanted a hatchling to watch grow up, WC wasn't really an option either.

Thanks for all you who support cb, rescues, adoptions, etc!
 

-EJ

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dmmj

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the 4 inch law applies to all turtles not just water turtles as one pet store near me believes. I went round and round with him evry time I went in there, more like friendly arguing not being mean and spiteful. He claimed that he only sold tortoises udner 4 inch and therefore it does not apply to him. all hos water turtle were large and looked klike well fed turtles. I finally told him to look at the law and then tell me. well next time I went in there he had a bunch of flyers taped to all his glasss tanks(I might add), saying that all turtles sold under 4 inches was for science and research purposes only. I though it was a cop out to put stuff like that. but what can you do at least he finally admitted that he was doing wrong. BTW here in calif the CTTC get slot sof calls from the people who seize the under 4 inch turtles and we get tons of them in all the time. I know that lots of them are prob destroyed :( but at least we save as many as we can. just MHO. thanks for reading. As to WC vs. CB aren't all of them wild caught at one time? I would rather see regulated inporting so we do not cause a lot of damage to the gene pool. but to sit there and say that well after I got mine ha ha now you cant get yours seems rather vindictive and petty to me. Please forgive any spelling errors.
 

dawnzky05

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I'm in favor of the captive bred. I hate to sweat out just to have the wild caught tortoise.:D






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