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Turtles Outlawed As Pets in Tennessee

Discussion in 'Reptile Law - Legal News' started by Rich, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to Tennessee, you can't own turtles because they are dangerous. Is there an epidemic that has recently surfaced in Tennessee? Suddenly pet turtles in Tennessee are producing bacteria and carry salmonella. (Extreme sarcasm intended.) I guess there was never a need for a law over the past xxx years but suddenly turtles have become dangerous. This is pathetic. Those governing the laws over the state of Tennessee need to be voted out. This is a whole new level of stupid.


    Turtles might be cute to look at, but they also can harbor deadly bacteria, including salmonella.

    For that reason, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will not issue permits for pet stores to sell turtles or for people to own turtles. That means it's illegal to keep them as pets in the state - regardless of whether people find them in their front yard or bring them back as souvenirs from vacation.

    Walter Cook, captive wildlife coordinator for the TWRA, says: "It's common sense."

    "It's a public health concern and we have to be responsible," he says. "Being able to pull the skin and legs back into a shell creates a moist environment that aids bacteria growth. And you can't remove animals from the wild alive because they have a purpose and provide a necessary component to the ecosystem. We don't know what the population of these animals is or how many could be removed before jeopardizing the population."

    For people who already keep turtles as pets, Cook says the association isn't interested in prosecuting anyone. He just hopes people will donate them to one of Tennessee's several wildlife education facilities, where the reptiles will be kept in a closed habitat to reduce the risk of spreading the deadly bacteria.

    "We just don't want anybody to get sick," he says.

    The TWRA can be reached at 615-781-6500 or visit them online at Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

    - Cindy Watts, The Tennessean
  2. biollantefan54

    biollantefan54 Elite Member

    Wow, I personally don't care for turtles, but that is just stupid. Tennessee might as well ban every reptile known to man if they don't want people sick. Reptiles carry salmonella, Its a well know fact. That is just dumb.
  3. pandorasbox

    pandorasbox Elite Member

    So when are they banning dogs?
  4. justor

    justor Elite Member

    Shhh! Don't give them any more brilliant ideas.
  5. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    This level of stupidity is alarming. There are thousands of other issues that should actually be addressed but they were in session voting on banning harmless turtles that have been in the pet industry for years? I literally feel disgusted over this. I actually understand the concerns with giant constrictors (I said I understand, not agree). I have no understanding at all of why they would ban a red ear slider or painted turtle though. That is a whole new level of stupid!
  6. Swimmer522

    Swimmer522 Elite Member

    Had someone get all in a fuss and refused to even be within five feet of me because they found out i have reptiles and reptiles carry samonilla... seriously? Its like the fact that im not allowed to donate blood or plasma becuase i was born in Germany and lived there for a whole 10 months. They seem to think that i have mad cow. Pretty sure in my 23 years of life i would have figured out if i have mad cow.
  7. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    Guys, this is nothing new. We haven't been able to have turtles in TN for as long as I can remember. Our Colubrid laws are horrible as well. You have to have a permit to purchase online and import, or a receipt that shows you bought from a pet store with a permit.

    And to propogate and sell colubrids, it is a $250 permit per year, I believe. Which is why we never have any good reptile expos in TN and most people deal in Ball Pythons.

    AND... A California Kingsnake is "the same" as a local Black King - TWRA doesn't differentiate. Same as a San Diego Gopher - since it is a Pituophis, they consider it the same as our local Pine Snakes.

    Could be worse - I could live in GA with their laws.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012
  8. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    If that is the case Knox then why are they just announcing that it is now illegal to own turtles in TN? The story broke less than 48 hours ago.
  9. Knox

    Knox Elite Member

    I don't think the story "broke". I think it is just a re-telling of the same laws that have been on the books for years. I have NEVER seen a turtle for sale in a TN pet shop, and 2 years ago had a huge online discussion about this same law with someone and cited the TWRA website as reference.

    "For that reason, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will not issue permits for pet stores to sell turtles or for people to own turtles. That means it's illegal to keep them as pets in the state - regardless of whether people find them in their front yard or bring them back as souvenirs from vacation."

    Notice it doesn't say "will NO LONGER issue permits", but rather "will not issue permits" - just like it has always been.
  10. MadDog

    MadDog Elite Member

    I live in GA and you're right. The laws suck here. I gotta say I like the whole permit/receipt thing. I wish that was how they treated the constrictor issue. :-\
  11. LovetheBaruu

    LovetheBaruu Subscribed User Premium Member

    On the other hand; we have been studying up on the TN herping laws and I think they do a great job of protecting the wildlife. Not everyone is interested in being educated before taking a pet into their home, and many don't care (in my experience) if it is awild caught and/or protected species.
  12. skelly98

    skelly98 Elite Member

    mabye it is for the best if you need a lisense, with all these red eared sliders being kept in tiny indoor tanks, just saying.......... but i agree, salmonella is a stupid reason. obviously these permits should be easy to get, but consider this:

    5.5 Gallon Hagen Aquarium with 2 Red Eared Slider. - City of Toronto Pet Accessories - Kijiji City of Toronto Canada.
    turtle - City of Toronto Pets For Sale - Kijiji City of Toronto Canada.

    and these were only the ones on the first two pages, it seems.

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