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Isn't it against the law to sell turtles that are smaller than 4 inches? I have seen baby turtles for sale at [some store] and wondered what to do about it? How would I go about reporting this pet store? They were giving very poor care information as well.
Submitted by admin on Sun, 03/11/2007 - 17:35.
The 4 Inch Law is actually an FDA regulation and not a law. It was first written in 1975 as a response to the concern about salmonella poisoning resulting from the wholesale distribution of baby water turtles that was occurring at the time. One unfortunate unintended consequence of this federal regulation is that that the commercial breeders of these turtles were forced to seek other markets. As a result, there are thriving colonies of red eared turtles in England, Europe, Japan, Korea, and elsewhere. These turtles are very hardy, and often they often displace native turtle populations.
See a longer discussion on this issue.
There is an exception to the regulation that allows the sale of small turtles for "bona fide scientific, educational, or exhibitional purposes, other than use as pets." Many stores operate under this exception, or claim to. They will post a notice that the turtles are being sold for educational purposes. It is difficult to prove otherwise. Another way that the regulation is skirted is to sell the supplies needed for the turtle (a "turtle bowl", turtle food, and other supplies) and then give the customer the turtle. Since it is an FDA regulation, you should try to contact a local office of the FDA. Be aware that the penalty imposed by the FDA is to destroy the turtles. See the above link. None of this is to say that you shouldn't try, but it will be frustrating. It is possible, if unlikely, that the seller is simply ignorant. You might try providing the seller with proper care information, for example a copy of .
If the seller seems teachable, they can contact GCTTS for more information. Also see: http://gctts.org/WS/WS.php/Public/WaterTurtleCare