California Mid-State Fair 2013

Jul 26, 2013 10:17 AM by Donna Winnick, KSBY News

UPDATE: Turtles given out as prizes confiscated at fair due to possible health risks

If your child won a new pet at the Mid-State Fair, you'll want to hear this. The Public Health Department is asking some people to return them due to health risks.

Red-Eared Slider Turtles may seem like an innocent game prize, however a law passed in 1975 made it illegal to sell these turtles with a shell less than 4 inches long.

Without the fair's knowledge, The Buoy game awarded winners the baby water turtles, and dozens of winners walked away with an illegal new pet. It's unclear how the owner of this game got a hold of nearly 100 turtles that pose a health risk. Turtles under 4 inches, specifically this type, tend to carry Salmonella.

California Fish and Game investigated this game after a person notified the San Luis Obispo Public Health Department that a vendor was distributing illegal turtles.

Sixty-five were confiscated and are now being held at the Division of Animal Services in San Luis Obispo to be tested for disease and bacteria. Once cleared, they will be released to the Turtle and Tortoise Rescue of Arroyo Grande.

A representative from the Mid-State Fair says that Lopez Concessions is the company that operates the game. They will not be invited back to the fair in the future.

Anyone who may have won a turtle at the fair is asked to return it to the Division of Animal Services in San Luis Obispo.

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