Can you help me (help a friend) ethically and legally get rid of some overgrown pet turtles?
November 16, 2011 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me (help a friend) ethically and legally get rid of some overgrown pet turtles?

I'm asking for a friend in the Los Angeles area.

My friend has three large turtles. Like all turtles, these started out tiny and cute when originally purchased from downtown LA many years ago. Currently these turtles are no longer cute, no longer tiny, and can no longer be accommodated by my friend (at least, not in a way that involves any sort of quality of life for the turtles).

Of course the turtles are fed regularly and kept in an appropriate habitat. But... they're just sitting there. No one involved seems particularly concerned about doing anything with them beyond meeting their basic needs.

So. It's time to let go of the turtles. Haphazardly releasing them into the wild is out for a number of reasons (probable inability to fend for themselves, illegal, environmental harmful).

A rather far-fetched idea about putting them into a fountain that contains many other turtles of comparable size in Santa Barbara has been passed around, but I think this is both logistically difficult and somewhat shady. I mean, sneaking turtles in a box or bag into a public fountain where they will be cared for by whoever cares for the rest of them?

There has to be a better option.

How can you get rid of three large turtles in the L.A. area safely, legally, and ethically?
posted by Temeraria to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
Here are a whole bunch of people who want to help you out.
posted by adiabat at 3:02 PM on November 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

Take them to Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. I'm reasonably sure the rangers will let you drop them off into one of the two water features with turtle populations.

I think. Maybe call and ask?

Ditto the Huntington Gardens and Museum in Pasadena.
posted by jbenben at 3:12 PM on November 16, 2011

You can talk to the owners of the fountain (at La Arcada Court, corner of State & Figueroa). Looks like snail mail is the best way. They might be receptive to more turtles!
posted by zomg at 3:12 PM on November 16, 2011

1) Put out a Craigslist ad looking for people to adopt them.

2) Take them to an animal shelter.
posted by DoubleLune at 3:13 PM on November 16, 2011

As a frequent visitor to La Arcada, I can tell you that they probably won't want to add new turtles that might have turtle diseases.
posted by k8t at 3:14 PM on November 16, 2011

to follow up what K8t said, the 'pet' turtles also might be susceptible to illness or environmental factors to which the other turtles have immunity or a high tolerance. Perhaps calling the local zoo or animal control for suggestions or referrals?
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:19 PM on November 16, 2011

We had a similar issue with a pet snake that continued to live at my parents' house long after my sister (and snake owner) moved away. A teacher friend of mine found a home at his school and the snake has lived there happily and getting lots of attention ever since. You might try contacting local schools, particularly those with a science focus, to see if they are interested. If you can throw in unused food and a habitat, it might make it more feasible for the school to take them.
posted by goggie at 3:43 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Try calling Star Eco Station. They may not be able to take them, but they may be able to help.
posted by mogget at 4:14 PM on November 16, 2011

My zoo put up a sign that says they get more than one call per week from people needing to rehome overgrown amphibian and lizard pets, which makes me feel really confident that the (much larger) Los Angeles Zoo knows the best place for the turtles to go:
Q: Can I donate my pet to the Zoo?
A: While the Zoo encourages pet owners to learn as much as they can before adopting a pet, we understand that sometimes situations cannot be avoided where people are unable to care for their pet. Unfortunately, the Zoo cannot accommodate the large number of requests that are made each year.

For reptile owners, we recommend contacting the Southwestern Herpetologists Society ( to see if they can be of any assistance in finding your reptile an adoptive home.


Owners of other pets should contact the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - Los Angeles ( or (888) SPCA-LA1), the Burbank Animal Shelter ( or (818) 238-3340), or the Glendale Humane Society ( or (818) 242-1128).
posted by SMPA at 5:12 PM on November 16, 2011

Response by poster: Wow! I do believe I have several possible leads here.
Thanks for helping me take first steps to getting these turtles to somewhere better for everyone.
posted by Temeraria at 8:42 PM on November 16, 2011 is good, but not always updated-- rescue information can change fast. Google "Los Angeles reptile rescue" and you should get something. They will be able to help you. Or at least give you a very good reason why they can't. (I do reptile rescue, but I'm in Seattle, and I foster snakes anyway.)
posted by Because at 9:38 PM on November 16, 2011

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