A turtle on display at the Jockey Lot in Anderson swims in an aquarium. (File/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -
They're cute, but some of them may also be contaminated.
Customers may not know it, but federal law states it's illegal to sell turtles with shells smaller than 4 inches. Investigators said the law is in place to protect customers from potential contracted salmonella. One woman in the Upstate who didn't want her identity revealed said a doctor told her she had salmonella poisoning after handling turtles.
"I would have stomach cramps. The best way I could describe it is like contractions. They would come, they would last for a period of time and they were really severe to where I would have to bend over," she said.
She said she got the turtle at the Jockey Lot flea market in Anderson County.
"He actually said that you were buying the cage as the turtle was free and you could pick out which turtle you wanted," she said.
According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers of Disease Control, reports show there are six cases of salmonella related to turtles in South Carolina, including one in the Upstate.
Mangers with the Jockey Lot said the hatchlings are no longer available there. Management released this statement to FOX Carolina:
"We at the Anderson Jockey Lot are always concerned with the safety of our vendors and customers. We do our best to ensure their safety so it is upsetting when we learn that there is even a possibility that a customer may have been harmed by an item purchased on our lot. Whenever we have a question regarding the sale of a particular item, in this case an animal, we make every effort to make sure the vendor is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations by contacting the appropriate government agency for direction. In the case of turtles, we were advised by DNR that our vendors were in compliance. We hope no one has contracted or ever will contract salmonella or any other disease from an animal from the Jockey Lot and we will do our best to protect our customers, but in this case we do not feel as though we have enough details to comment. However, we do wish to extend our sympathies to the person infected. Just for general information for the public, most reptiles, amphibians, as well as birds have the ability to transmit salmonella. It is always a good idea to handle these animals accordingly. Keep them away from food, food preparation areas, your mouth and always wash your hands after handling them."
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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