A video showing dozens of baby turtles being sold on the side of the road in the Blanco Road area of San Antonio angered many animal activists and lovers.
After several complaints from people who saw the seller and shared the video, the Texas Game Warden investigated and tweeted that the seller had a permit, and that no charges were filed.
That, of course, caused some confusion. We called the Game Warden ourselves and they explained to us that they enforce state laws only, which do allow the sale of non-game animals.
However, there is a federal law prohibiting the sale of turtles as small as the ones that were being sold on Blanco Road. According to FDA federal regulations, turtle eggs and live turtles with a carapace length of less than four inches shall not be sold or held for sale.
There's more: The City of San Antonio's Animal Care Services also has a city law against selling any and all animals on the side of the road. ACS has also received complaints about several animal vendors on San Antonio streets.
Aimee Decontreras, a field manager with San Antonio ACS, said they suggest that the public do not buy animals on the side of the road.
"For the simple reason that you don't know what you're supporting. The animals can be sick or becoming sick. You may get home and realize you have a sick animal; cats, dogs, turtles, birds, you just don't know what they have,” Decontreras said.
As it stands right now, ACS only has the ability to issue a citation. They are currently proposing a new city ordinance for city council that will allow them to also confiscate these animals
"We're hoping once the city ordinance is approved, we'll be able to impound the animals at that point,” Decontreras explained. “That's going to make a big impact because we'll be able to take product and we'll see a slow down in the animal sales."
Several public meetings are being held through the rest of the year for these potential changes to city ordinances involving animals. ACS and other animal advocates are hoping to get these laws changed by October.
July 19, 5 p.m.: Animal Care Services at 4710 St Highway 151, San Antonio, TX 78227
August 2, 6 p.m.: Hardberger Ecology Center at 8400 NW Military Highway, San Antonio TX 78231