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Tennessee law won't stop 58th Annual Turtle Derby

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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 07:53 AM
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Tennessee law won't stop 58th Annual Turtle Derby

Longtime fans at the 58th Annual Turtle Derby in Ashland City may be a little shell-shocked this year.

For the charity event, the local Lions Club imports 30 turtles from out-of-state and races them complete with $10 sponsorships down the 4-foot course at an average speed of 15 seconds.

The tradition has been to hand the turtles over to local children or release them into a local pond, but not this year.

After the event on Aug. 26, organizers say they will return the turtles to a North Carolina company that breeds them. Why? Because of a 1977 law in Tennessee that forbids private ownership of turtles or releasing them into the wild.

Organizers were not aware of the law until The Tennessean called this week to ask about the event.

"We'll do away with that practice," said Turtle Derby Chairman Joe York, who has helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars to help disadvantaged Cheatham County residents pay for eye exams and glasses.

Ownership of turtles is banned because the animals' skins and shells are commonly smothered in salmonella, a dangerous bacteria common-
ly associated with food poisoning, said Walter Cook of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

"We don't want anybody to contract salmonella," Cook said. "We don't know what (the turtles) have been exposed to or what their genetic makeup is. Releasing them into the wild could create a biological disaster."
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B3Nut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 09:54 AM
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1. All reptiles carry salmonella
it's their natural gut flora. If you own reptiles, you take appropriate precautions. It's not rocket science, for pete's sake...wash up properly after handling them and you're fine. A good scrubdown after handling our sliders or our bearded dragon has always worked for us...

Have we lost that much common sense?

Todd in Beerbratistan
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