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Animal Abuser Who Put Nail in Turtle Sought

Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons is offering $1,000 for information leading to a conviction.

The is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of an animal abuser who hammered a 3-inch nail through the shell of an Eastern box turtle.

The male turtle, which was discovered in Noyac on Tuesday, is in recovery at the rescue center in Hampton Bays after surgery to remove the nail. An x-ray revealed the nail missed the turtle's spine and vital organs, though it is on painkillers and antibiotics and is not out of the woods yet.

Noyac resident Patty Burns was in her backyard Tuesday morning walking her dog when she ran into the turtle, a familiar denizen of her property, but during this encounter she noticed something was amiss.

"I thought I saw something on his shell and I looked again," she recalled Friday. "I thought, 'It couldn’t be a nail.'"

Not having her glasses on, she called her 12-year-old daughter outside to have a look. Her daughter, Arlena, confirmed it: There was a nail in the top of the turtle's shell.

Arlena said the nail went straight through and came out of the turtle's stomach. "Immediately we knew to call an animal rescue center,” she said.

The Burnses brought the turtle to the Wildlife Rescue Center, where it was determined the turtle would need an x-ray and veterinarian. Volunteer Bethany Groff of Hampton Bays rushed the turtle to Jonathan Turetsky, DVM, at the .

Rescue center administrator Virginia Frati said Dr. Turetsky did extensive surgery on the turtle and covered the entry and exit wounds with dental acrylic to keep out infection.

The rescue center kept the nail, which is covered in rust. It is unclear how long the turtle has been living with the nail in its shell, and Groff said it might have already been rusty when it was hammered into the turtle.

Burns said that, prior to Tuesday, she last saw the turtle on Memorial Day weekend, when it crawled onto her pool cover and she had to rescue it with a net, and the shell was intact then.

Groff said the Eastern box turtle's estimated home range is only about the size of a football field, so the turtle was likely attacked near where it was found.

"You hope it's not someone you who know because it's something so horrible," Arlena said.

The rescue center is currently housing numerous turtles, most of which were hit by cars or a lawnmower accidentally, according to Groff.

But in this instance, it was obviously a malicious act.

"They knew what they were doing, which is the sick part," Groff said.

N July 09, 2011 at 02:41 PM
This is so cruel,I hope the person who did this will be held responsible,he or she should pay a huge amount to the wildlife rescue and veterinarian to help other animals who fall victim to loveless human beings.I am so mad,someone should put a nail through the hand that did this and ask how it feels.
gruntinggrindle July 09, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Yes, this was an absolute violation worthy of jail time. Today, while riding my bike, I found a adult red-eared turtle crossing the road in 90 degree weather to get at the pond on the other side. It needed help cause a fence would have been a grand obstacle to that watery paradise. So we helped it by relocating it across the road to the other side of the fence. It did not take long for that turtle to get oriented and head straight to cool clear water. Another turtle survives with a bit of aid from a human. Darts to anyone who kills or hurts a turtle. Turtles got to make a living too and it does include nailing them.
gruntinggrindle July 09, 2011 at 08:30 PM
meant to say doesn't include....
Melpo July 10, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Please find the individual responsible for this horrific act...If it is a minor, this person needs Rehab with Cognitive Therapy Mandated by The Court with parents & or guardians involved in the therapy as well....This individual needs to fully comprehend the meaning of the words Caring, Empathy, Cruel, Pain & Living things...This individual needs to perform Extensive Community Service & needs to be monitored by a Probation Officer with severe Curfew Restrictions of his / or her whereabouts @ all times...If the individual is an adult, more severe punishment, & Rehab & Restitution needs to be imposed with HEAVY DUTY INDIVIDUAL & GROUP ( PEER THERAPY ) & If an adult, A Hefty Fine Needs to Be Imposed with perhaps garnishing of the individual's salary for all medical expenses involved & medication for The Turtle....Heavy Duty Community community Service as well with a Curfew & Probation Officer Monitoring Whereabouts for a set amount of time mandated by The Court...
gruntinggrindle July 10, 2011 at 06:35 AM
Hear, hear...
Peconic Sunset July 10, 2011 at 10:14 AM
Animal abusers often go on to commit crimes against children and helpless people. Anyone with information please come forward.
Melpo July 11, 2011 at 01:34 AM
I think that the Animal Rescue People should seek the advice & assistance of The East Hampton & Southhampton Youth officers...there is one in each town & they have a vast knowledge of what young people might be prone to committing such a crime..Also, some of the School psychologists & school social workers & town psychologists might be able to help....Of course, one needs the assistance of a Judge or Legal representative in order to attain this very private information...It will take some effort & time but the personality profile can be put together to locate this individual who needs help.....I do not think that this crime should be placed on the back burner....
Gavin Zeigler July 11, 2011 at 07:27 PM
How can one contribute to the reward money?
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) July 11, 2011 at 08:45 PM
You can call the Wildlife Rescue Center at 631-728-4200.
Mary February 28, 2013 at 03:21 PM
This is heartbreaking. I have an Eastern Box who's lived with me now for 3 years... I can't imagine anyone harming such a gentle, beautiful, intelligent animal. I pray they catch the person who did this.

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