(OCEANSIDE, Calif.) — Residents in a California community are outraged and Humane Society officials have launched an investigation after a turtle was found in a eucalyptus tree taped to a cluster of helium-filled balloons.
Chanelle Wright of Oceanside, Calif., discovered the turtle taped to the green and blue balloons on Sunday, and immediately called the Humane Society.
“We look up and there are green and blue balloons up there,” Wright told ABC News affiliate 10 News. “He was just swinging his arms trying to get out of it. Somebody had taped him to the balloons.”
Wright rang up the Humane Society, who sent the fire department an hour later to try to free the turtle. But just as the fire officials were about to cut the turtle loose, a gust of wind blew it safely down to earth.
A Humane Society employee on the scene said it was a box turtle.
Joel Rabago, another Oceanside resident, said his mother began to film the turtle’s plight.
“When something like this happens, she always takes the video camera, no matter what it is,” Rabago told 10 News.
He said that although the turtle escaped unscathed from its misadventure, he’s still outraged.
“What were you thinking? I mean, a turtle is still life. There’s no reason to be putting him up in a balloon and sending him off,” Rabago said.
Wright agreed, and said her family is ready to give it a new loving home if no one comes forward to claim it.
“It’s animal abuse. If you didn’t want the turtle, give it away, take it to a pet store,” she said.
While an investigation is conducted into the incident, the turtle is being held by the Oceanside Humane Society. Whoever taped the turtle to the balloons and set it adrift could face charges of animal abuse.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN