The Humane Society of Young County in Graham had a rather unusual guest today. A large turtle – or tortoise to be exact – was found roaming the alley behind a business in Graham. He was taken to the shelter while officials worked to find out who the owner was.
It was an odd type of visitor. "We've had a snapping turtle before, but they usually go right out to the creek," said HSYC Executive Director Kim Baxter. Still, he was well-mannered. "He was different. He let us pet him... He likes his head pet," she said.
The animal's name is Turcel. He proved to be quite the curious creature, and tore down clichés about terrapins being slow. "He was really neat, ran all over the office and when I say run... I mean run! People think they can't move fast but he was moving quite along… He was very, very curious, very curious," said Baxter.
In a shelter full of other pets, the curious shelled refugee worked to make friends. "He met Oreo the office cat, he met Tubby our office dog. Tubby was not sure of him at all, and Oreo wanted him gone," said Baxter.
Via facebook and help from local neighbors, the owner was found. Jay Hazelton was happy to have Turcel back. "I really appreciate not having to search for him. I've been worried about somebody stealing him for a long time, but I don't guess that's going to happen," he said.
Hazelton has had Turcel for nearly 7 years. He's still a baby in turtle years. Still, he's never had a problem with him. "He hadn't been much problem to take care of before now but I guess I'm going to have to get a stronger fence," he said.
Turcel headed home with Hazelton just after 4:00 p.m., putting an end to the turtle on the run.