Public cautioned against impulse purchases of pet turtles


The latest installment of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise will hit theaters on August 8 and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) recommends careful consideration before buying a turtle as a pet for a child.

As with any movie that uses animals (even if they’re of the CGI, ninja variety) as the central characters, the popularity of that animal spikes. Eventually, when the child or family loses interest in their impulse purchase, those turtles wind up in shelters or rescues, or in extreme and cruel cases, they are ignored, left to languish, or even disposed of while still alive.

“spcaLA has seen this in the past with 101 Dalmatians and Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” President spcaLA Madeline Bernstein said. “We want to get the word out now. Parents: research and determine if taking a pet into your home is the right decision.  All pets, including turtles, deserve proper care, respect and a loving home.”

Rather than buy a living being that requires attention and care, spcaLA recommends purchasing TMNT toys or games instead. Inanimate plastic objects do not suffer when children become bored and lose interest.

Further, spcaLA cautions that is against federal law for pet stores and other pet retailers to sell turtles with a carapace length (length of shell from the head to the tail) of less than four inches in the state of California (a precaution against the spread of salmonella).

Suspected abuses of this law can be reported to the FDA.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Ana Bustilloz at 323-730-5300 ext: 252 or by email at

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, or spcaLA, is an independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California since 1877.  There is no national SPCA, parent organization, or umbrella group that provides financial support to spcaLA.  Donations run programs and services including Cruelty Investigation, Disaster Animal Response Team, Humane Education, and a variety of shelter services.