My Turtle Named Fred

About 3 years ago I was in Tennessee with what was my boyfriend at the time. We were visiting his relatives. The roads in the area where long and winding to say the least but even though we were in what seemed like a remote area there was a decent amount of high speed traffic on this particular road that we were traveling on this particular day. Me being the way I always am, I scan the roads constantly checking to make sure animals aren’t up ahead or getting ready to cross.

My boyfriend was driving what was at the time one of my brand new Lexus’s and I was sitting in the passenger seat. As we were driving on this road and coming around the bend, I spotted a massive turtle on the opposite side of the road trying to cross that seemed oblivious to the traffic that would have surely ended his life. I screamed for my boyfriend to pull over, not even being able to explain the reasoning why. (He later told me he thought I was about to get sick)

Before he could even bring the car to a complete stop I opened the car door and darted through the traffic across the road and back a little ways. I picked up the turtle that was now actually in the road and began to carry him back to where he looked like he was coming from. To my surprise he reached out and snapped at me, which startled me so I dropped him (not even gonna lie). So then I was to frightened to pick him back up so I screamed to my boyfriend who was still about half a mile up the road standing outside of the car very confused to come and help me.

My boyfriend didn’t feel the same sense of urgency about this turtle as I did so he walked instead of running so while I was waiting on my boyfriend I was blocking this stubborn turtle by trying to stand in front of it, but it was on a mission and kept trying to waddle around me. Finally my boyfriend got there and I explained to him this turtle tried to bite me! He explained to me that it is called a snapping turtle. LOL I had no idea that they even existed. Regardless if this turtle tried to snap at me or not, I know that if it knew I was there to save it’s life it would surely make this easier for me so I held nothing against the darling being.

I handed the job of carrying the turtle over to my boyfriend which was very reluctant on doing so but I instructed that if we hold it’s shell as far back from his head as possible he wouldn’t be able to reach the hands which thank goodness for the three of us that was the case. I told my boyfriend that we must get him across the road, he is very persistent on getting over there for a reason and since we won’t let him cross on his own we’ll have to do it for him. I told my boyfriend to put him in the front seat with him while I drove to find a safe area for this turtle. My boyfriend thought I was crazy for bringing this huge turtle into my brand new car but for anyone that knows me, knows that would be my last concern in a situation like this one.

We drove a little ways down the road (not too far incase it had “relatives, children?”) lol I don’t know… I just didn’t want to take it too far from it’s natural habitat so we found a beautiful pond just up the road on the side of the street he was trying to get to and I said to my boyfriend I bet this is where he was trying to get to. The pond was fenced off so we set him down facing towards the pond and I never seen a turtle move so fast. He was going towards that pond like he meant business!

We left the turtle to his new found bliss. As we were late for where we were heading in the first place. On our way back I wanted to stop and see if we could see the turtle anywhere. Sure enough we seen him in a little puddle next to the pond. All you could see was his head sticking up above the water but he looked very content. I figured from this experience that this turtle needed a name. So I named him Fred.

What is now my ex-boyfriend but still my best friend Chris, still talks about this experience to this day. He loves telling people about that experience and always told me that my compassion for people and animals alike moved him deeply.

As much as I enjoy this story myself I unfortunately didn’t type this out for you all to read just to share a smile. There is something very gray and grim that takes place in my very own home state of Indiana each year called the “Snapperfest”. Unfortunately, this annual torture festival just ended this past week and I didn’t know about it until yesterday.

Every year at the Campshore Campground, wild-caught snapping turtles endure terrible violence at the hands of participants. The frightened animals are grabbed by their tails and repeatedly slammed to the ground. Their heads are yanked from their shells, and they are then swung around until “contestants” are able to wrap their fists around the animals’ necks. In addition to terrifying these reptiles, these attacks can result in serious injury and fatal stress—and death comes slowly for turtles because of their slow metabolism. Survivors are likely subjected to slaughter or release into unfamiliar areas, only to succumb to parasites or disease. Video of one turtle’s “Snapperfest” ordeal can be viewed here… Snapperfest Ordeal

CAMPSHORE CAMPGROUND
8546 State Route 56
Aurora, IN 47001
(812) 438-2135 office
(812) 290-5939 cell
email:
info@campshorecampground.com

To my surprise I called the Aurora, Indiana police department and they have no jurisdiction over the area. The Indiana Ohio County Sherriff’s department does however. I know it’s confusing. The county is in Indiana but it’s called Ohio County.

I called them and I said, “Ma’am, are you aware of the “snapperfest” that just took place last week?” She said yes. I said, “Is there going to be any preventative action taken to prevent this from happening in the years to come?” She said she didn’t know and took down my name and number and said she would give it to the prosecutor. I thanked her kindly.

No matter how outraged or frustrated I feel that any type of law enforcement would condone this I know I will not get anywhere by being rude to these people. So I ask that when you call or write you do the same thing. Voice your concern and do so in a pleasant matter and I think together we can stop the killing of poor little “Fred’s” in the future.

When I first called the Aurora, Indiana police department the woman on the other end of the phone gave me the name and number of the sheriffs office without me even asking for it, you can tell that at least that police department doesn’t want the blood of these innocent turtles on their hands.

Here is the information to the Ohio County of Indiana Sherriff’s Department:

1-812-438-3636

Ohio County Sheriff’s Department

Sheriff
Eldon Fancher

123 S Mulberry St
Rising Sun, Indiana 47040

Phone: (812)438-3636
Fax: (812)438-4848

County: Ohio

Ohio County Sheriff’s Department

Lets come together and stop this from happening ever again. The goal is for there not to be a “Snapperfest” 2012.
Feel free to write and/or call them and if anyone finds an email as well please let me know.

I love you guys. Thanks for your help and support.

Bree Olson

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