Ninety-five turtles were rescued by the Turtle and Tortoise Rescue Sanctuary in Arroyo Grande over the 4th of July weekend after being dumped by pet owners into public ponds.
“A lot of people get tired of their turtles and tortoises and they, unfortunately, dump them in local areas even though that is illegal,” said Turtle and Tortoise Rescue owner Jeff Dobbs.
"I received a few calls about these turtles at the Collection, concerns about the conditions of the pond, people picking them up, tossing them back in, and mishandling them,” said Santa Barbara wildlife volunteer Lucia Brown.
After hearing multiple reports of turtles being dumped at the Collection mall in Oxnard, Brown decided to use her own time to take them to a safe spot.
“When I spoke with Jeff and explained the situation, I explained 50 is a lot of turtles and was happy to break them up between different rescues. He stopped me right there and said to bring everybody,” Brown said.
"Seeing other people are volunteering and saving these animals, it’s phenomenal and a lot of work,” Dobbs said.
With 61 turtles and nine red-eared sliders, Brown and her family were on their way to Arroyo Grande.
“We piled our car with all these bins of turtles. My family and I road tripped up there,” she said.
While the number of turtles needing to be rescued was eye-popping, turtles being released to the wild has been a constant problem.
“It is unusual for that amount in just one weekend," Dobbs said. "This weekend we got another 26 water turtles that came in being rescued.”
The Turtle and Tortoise Rescue hosts events and tours by appointment.
For more information, visit https://www.turtleandtortoiserescueofarroyogrande.org/.