July 21, 2009,
M.G. asks from Tyler, TX on July 17, 2009
Help with a Pet That I Don't Want Anymore!
First of all my sister is going to laugh when she reads this! In March my daughter's kindergarten teacher planned on releasing the class pets, 2 aqua turtles, into a pond, but my daughter begged her not to. Instead they were sent home with us the next day, with my permission of course. We keep them in a rubbermaid container. I priced a natural habitat and there is no way I'm spending close to $200 on 2 turtles.
My REAL PROBLEM is that she loves these turtles to pieces but I am sick of them. They smell bad and it is a task to keep their water clean. I can't wait to get rid of them but everytime we talk about it I feel so quilty. Last night I told her we need to let them go and her response was "I know". She understands but it definetly upsets her.
We are leaving to go on vacation for a week. Should I use this time as an excuse to get rid of them? Or will that be too upsetting for her when we return to a pet-less home? Should I get a turtle sitter? HaHa! What should I do?
So What Happened?™
I really didn't think anyone cared to hear this after nearly a year, but our family dcided on keeping the turtles. When we left for vacation we got a pet sitter. Our turtles were never in any danger like some of the moms thought. Killing them was NEVER an option!!! I can not believe I am being compared to accused animal murderers from Petco. We wanted a better home for them that we honestly could not afford but we have managed to do ok with them so far. However I failed to update everyone on the decision we chose. Thank you to all who had helpful advise. I really appreciate it, except the ones that just want to stir up trouble, save it for someone else. Thanks, MG
B.J. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
Turtles and tortoises that have been in captivity should NOT be released into the wild! They carry diseases, some that the common person and non-specialist vets, cannot easily detect, but which can devastate wild populations. Plus, you cannot expect that they will do well in the area where you release them. If you no longer want these pets and want them to survive and not potentially endanger their lives and the lives of other turtles, you should find a turtle rescue organization. Go online and I'm sure you can find one. This could be a great teaching of responsibility moment for your daughter.
3 moms found this helpful
T.S. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
A friend of mine told me something kind of neat the other day. She had a friend whose kiddos REALLY wanted hamsters. After 3 months they were done with them of course. So she got with about 6 other families and they rotate the hamsters every 2 months. They rotate with the cage and all the basics, but the family that hosts them during the two months is responsible for buying the food, etc. She said it has worked out great and everyone is always glad to have them back on their turn. You might try this idea.
2 moms found this helpful
L.P. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
I say save it until school starts (it's only a few more weeks) and give it back to the teacher for her new class. Then your daughter can visit it at school when she missed them.
1 mom found this helpful
B.M. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
She needs to be involved in finding the turtles a new home. It seems that she understands that they need to go. Ask her if they need to go to a new home or the pond. If you decide to let them into the wild, she should be the one to set them free. In any case, give her a chance to say goodbye. Then maybe you can discuss a pet that you both can live with.
1 mom found this helpful
S.C. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
One thing you could do is contact some area pet stores and see if any of them will take the turtles. You might also try some fish and reptile stores. Many fish (aquarium) stores are smaller Mom & Pop type places, not the big chain type stores, with more relaxed policies. I know there use to be a pet store in Bedford that would take some unwanted pets. I think it was Petland (it closed recently). When I looked online, I saw there is another Petland in Arlington.
Another thing you might try is finding them a new home. I'm not sure where you live, but there are some groups in the DFW area dedicated to "freecycling" where you can find pets new homes. In Fort Worth the group is "FtWorthFreeStuff" in yahoo groups ... you have to become a part of the group, then you can post prettymuch anything you no longer want or need and others will fall all over themselves trying to take it off your hands. If you want anymore info about the various groups and group names, please let me know.
With either of these solutions, you are not just getting rid of them, but finding them a new home and a new "family", which may be easier for your daughter to accept. (What specific kind are they and how big? I have a terrarium and MIGHT be interested myself!)
E.C. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
A friend of mine listed her kids fish on craiglist for free & they were picked up an hour after she posted :) The kids knew the fish were leaving & that when they did, they would get a new toy. Worked out well for them! I'm with you on getting rid of a smelly pet! Can't handle that! But the school will probably call the teacher for you & see if she wants them back for fall and then you'd know you'd only have them for a few more weeks. Good luck!
E.C. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
I had an aqua turtle when I was little named "Carl". My dad would always bring turtles home it seems, at least that is what i remember growing up. I also had two land turtles named Mike and Mary. Anyway, one day we had to get rid of Carl because my mom said that he would die if we kept him in this small tank (it was a little fish tank). She further explained that Carl would be much happier in a large lake with his friends where he could jump and play. It was a no brainer. I wanted Carl to be happy. And to this day I am so happy that we let Carl free. Eventually, Mike and Mary were let free as well. They had full roam of our basement (we lived in the Midwest). Anyway, good luck with your decision. By the way, I was around 8 at the time and my brother was 6.
L.I. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
Do you know if the turtles are native to this area? If not, they probably won't survive. I would put them up on Craigs List for free pet to give away - somebody will want them!
K.S. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
release them together in a pond before you leave, and tell her they need to find a turtle family to hang out with!
E.P. answers from Dallas on July 19, 2009
If they are Native Texas turtles: red-eared sliders, or yellow-eared, or Map turtles, they may have a chance to be "rehabilitated" by a volunteer with DFW WILDLIFE COALITION, dfwwildlife.org Their phone-line is manned by volunteers 24/7. These volunteers undergo training with the state and are licensed to work with animals and release them back into the wild.
If the turtles are non-native, they should NEVER be released into a local pond. A cool thing to do would be to take them to PETCO. PetCo in Grapevine has a program to accept small animals for adoption, quarantine them for a period of time to be sure they are not sick, then display them at the front counter as an "ADOPTION." Families who want to adopt must fill out a form, so not just anyone can walk out the door with the animal. I adopted my hamster there 2 years ago - - for FREE!!
A third option would be to check with Bob Jones Nature Center, 355 Bob Jones Rd., in Southlake, ###-###-####. They have some animals on display and may take in your turtles and create a habitat for them. There is a new director there named Katie - - a young woman with a PhD in conservation biology.
L.H. answers from Dallas on July 20, 2009
Because you're leaving for vacation, this is a perfect opportunity to free the turtles. Since your daugher's teacher was going to free them anyway, why don't you make it your daughter's mission? Explain to her that these turtles are now ready to be released into their natural habitat...that you and she have done your job in keeping them safe until they can make it on their own. Go with your daughter and let her carry them to a pond and let her release them. She already told you she "knows" they need to be released so even though it may be sad to see them go (for her), she can feel glad and proud that she helped them to survive to this point. Make it a big deal for her and forget your guilt!! Have fun and don't forget to throw away the rubbermaid container!!(haha)
C.P. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
Only one person mentioned the problems with releasing them into a pond. First of all they might not be native to Texas (or even the USA) and therefore should not be in the wild, posing risk of transmiting diseases and competing for food with native species, besides being able to breed and creating a population that shouldn't be there. Your child might think that's cool they are going back to the wild but that's teaching the wrong thing. Releasing them is a very easy but not most responsible solution. Freecycle.com is a great way to find a new owner and you get to pick who you want to give them too based on their answers. You should be able to give them out in no time.
M.M. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
I have had this "problem" with pet hamsters, rats, turtles, and all other sorts of little creatures. My solution has always been to give the pets to a day care....a reputable one!
Explain to your daughter how little children would love to watch and observe the turtles and the teacher can take care of them.
It worked for me...maybe it could work for you!
J. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
Would you be interested in selling the turtles and letting her buy something else less... turtlish? We have 3 animal lover's in the house and for the past couple of months I've been wanting to give my husband a turtle (or two). He has a very cute soft soft for turtles as they were the only pet he was allowed to have as a child. Let me know please!
V.T. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
When I was 13 my parents had my brother put our dog down while we were on vacation. They were going to wait until we got home to tell us, but we knew she was sick and when my brother met us at the vacation destination we kept asking and they told us. I actually think it was the best thing. We were sad, but we were at the beach with so much to distract us, that it made everything easier. I would give them away before you leave. She will be sad, but I think vacation will distract from her sadness and at her age she should get over giving them away rather quickly.
T.G. answers from Dallas on July 20, 2009
We had pet turtles that we "set free". My son loved them but we explained that it was very sad for them to stay in a little aquarium when they should be in a big pond. We made a trip to the lake to an area near a beach that had lots of bushes and we let my son be the one to set them free. He was sad but also happy for the turtles -who interestingly enough reverted to their natural instincts right away and swam a short distance and then "scuttled" down in the sand. It is a good lesson for "empathy" for your daughter. Hope this helps.
L.F. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
Hi, Try the Nature Center in Plano. They take all kinds of orphaned animals, from baby birds, squirrels, snakes etc. they can decide what is best for them. Contact the school for phone number and address. It is on the east side of plano.
K.C. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
Rather than release them, go to a place like Petco and ask if they can be put up for adoption. Then you'll be sure they are going to a place where someone wants theem and will care for them
L.W. answers from Dallas on July 21, 2009
release them to a natural area and have the child occasionally go by there to drop some food off. after a while things will subside.
D.P. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
there's a pet shop on coit and beltline in the spring creek shopping center. it's called just for pets.
they may take them or know someone who will take them.
i don't know how big your turtles are, i have turtles too. but my tank is only big enough for the ones i have. i usually raise them for a few years before i release them. this gives them a chance to grow a bit, but as i said, i have an aquarium w/ all the bells and whistles so that it doesn't smell.
try calling or taking them to just for pets.
D.T. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
We also had some turtles (thanks to my dad and his pond) that I hated. I kept them all summer for my boys and then I had had it! I told them that they needed to return to the pond to prepare for winter. They needed to be reunited with their family and friends. This worked really well. We picked a date and discussed their departure in positive ways many times and then when the day came, they were completely ready to let them go. I hope it will be easy for you and your family, too!
M.B. answers from Dallas on July 18, 2009
You can actually hire a pet sitter for the turtles - we've had one for fish before :)
One other thought would be to wait till the fall and see if any of the teachers at school want them for their classroom.
My son would love to have them - he is obsessed with turtles - but I won't let him have them due to all the issues you point out.
A.K. answers from Dallas on July 20, 2009
I'm sending a personal response...