Painted Turtles in NY - legal or illegal? - FaunaClassifieds
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:28 PM   #1
Painted Turtles in NY - legal or illegal?

Last I knew, owning native species without proper permits was illegal. However, I have many people trying to tell me that keeping and selling native Painted Turtles in the state of NY is fine and that the law is no longer in effect and some similar stories and that pet stores in NY are even selling them as pets. (which I have noticed)

I don't know if I missed something somewhere, but last I knew the DEC was giving out fines for people being caught with native animals, and Painted Turtles certainly are native to NY!

Can anyone clear this up for me?
Old 09-30-2009, 04:21 PM   #2

I am a tortoise breeder in New York State and formerly a turtle keeper and breeder. Simply put, as of 2005 keeping [i]all[i] species of animals native to New York State in captivity is prohibited. That is not to say that it is illegal to keep certain species. Some species, typically the more common species, are able to be kept with the correct DEC permits. Most can now only be kept on permit for educational or research purposes. Species that are native to New York can be kept for propogational (breeding) purposes but those animals, cannot be from the wild of New York State. You must be able to show a proof of purchase from a legitimate source and that they were not collected within the state.
Old 09-30-2009, 04:28 PM   #3
Would you consider a pet store (petco, petsmart,etc) a legitimate source? What made me ask this was I am constantly seeing ads posted on Craigslist about people selling native turtles, some admit they caught them, and others say they bought them from pet stores.

When I find these ads I give them to the DEC because I know these people do not have permits. Who's to know for sure if a pet store has legal animals? People bring in their unwanteds all the time, for all that pet store knows, that person scooped up that turtle from the wild!

In a way I just wish the right authorities were a little more strict on the wildlife stuff.
Old 09-30-2009, 09:58 PM   #4
A "legitimate source" as meant on the DEC permit applications doesn't really mean a company, pet shop or other physical business. It means that the person applying for the permit for a specific species must have written proof from the seller as to where that person obtained the animals. In other words if you were buying an Eastern Box turtle from someone in another state the State of New York would require either a copy of the permit in the seller's name from the state they reside in proving that the turtle is legal to own in that state with a permit. Or if it is a species that is not protected in that state, the New York state buyer has to provide written proof that the species they wish to purchase from the seller is not protected in the seller's state and can be legally collected or captive bred and sold or traded.
There are many people on Craigslist and other sites that are advertising the animals the way they do simply because they are unaware of the recent changes in the DEC law in New York State. In very few states is it now illegal to own something as common as a Painted turtle, frog or other common native species. Most people are unaware and simply pick them up in the wild when they see them. In most cases the act is not meant as harm, simply curiousity and the thrill of finding something like that. It's when people are out to mass collect specific, usually rare and high value species to make profits that does the real harm.
Old 10-01-2009, 12:11 AM   #5
Oh I understand that not all people know what they are doing when they take animals out of the wild, but even after talking to these people, just via email, letting them know that they can possibly get in trouble, I usually get harrassing emails back. I get called names among other things... one person even told me that the law is no longer in effect... I don't know, I really don't care if people keep natives as pets, but I just try to help them when they try to sell them... they can get in trouble for it if caught. But when they get hostile or flat out ignorant about it, I don't think they deserve to have the animal in the first place!

Anyway, thanks though, your info was good.
Old 10-01-2009, 09:02 AM   #6
Basically, the law is in place, but not aggressively enforced unless there is obvious and blantant abuse. Again, if someone is collecting rare and sought after species that bring high prices or is wiping out whole populations. People that have a few common native animals here and there don't pose much of threat to the species well being. Small cases like that are rarely pursued or prosecuted because law enforcement agencies simply can't justify the cost for the effect. They go for big cases that make the news and papers. That gives them justification, public awareness and "educates" to some extent. I personally see no harm in someone keeping native species as long as they learn proper care methods, have the resources to maintain the animals correctly and are looking out for the animals best interests.
Old 08-18-2010, 10:13 PM   #7
Also, not ALL painted turtles are native to NY, the Eastern and Midland are native to there, but the Western and the Southern are completely legal to sell in your state. That being said, there are probably some places that sell native species and the reason is mostly that people don't know the laws and that the law isn't enforced that well.

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