(UPDATED 10/13) It was too good to be true. Gertie, an African Spurred Tortoise, was Jean Robinson's spoiled pet until the reptile wandered from its Mount Dora home over five years ago. Yesterday, there was hope she was finally found.
Mount Dora Animal Control located a 60-pound tortoise of the same breed on Wednesday after several sightings by residents during the week. African Spurred Tortoise, named for the big scales on their thighs, are the third-largest species of tortoises in the world.
On Monday, Mount Dora Police dispatch received a call about a large tortoise in the roadway around Clayton Street and Crane Avenue. Animal Control Officer Cindy Blevins responded to the area but was unable to locate the tortoise. When Gertie disappeared, she lived approximately two hundred yards from that same intersection.
On Tuesday, there was another sighting of the tortoise, also called a Sulcata, a block from the previous day. Blevins responded again, but was unable to locate the tortoise. Finally on Wednesday, Phil Barnard, a Mount Dora resident and owner of Magical Meat Boutique, spotted it when he was walking his dog along the area's railroad tracks. He and his wife, Kate, carried it in a blanket into a fenced area until Blevins could recover it. The tortoise is estimated to be 30 years-old and was reported to be in good health. African Spurred Tortoises can live 150 years in their native scrub environment at the edge of the Sahara. They can weigh up to 230 pounds.
The animal was transported to Care Foundation Wildlife Rehab Center in Apopka where Robinson was able to visit today and determine it was not her missing tortoise.
Officers from the Mount Dora Police Department will take thirty pre-selected students from three local schools shopping at Target. Each student will get a one-on-one shopping experience with a police officer and spend a $100 gift card to buy clothes, shoes, or toys. The kids and their families will also received a Christmas basket donated by Lake Cares Food Pantry.
The schools' staff and Student Resource Officers are involved in the selection of the participants due to their familiarity with the student body of the schools.
"Shop with a Cop" is a program supported by the generosity of local citizens and businesses.
For information regarding this event contact Officer Ivy Severance at 352-735-7130 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adopt a pet, save the galaxy! The Lake County Animal Shelter present "May The Fur Be With You" adoption event on Saturday, October 14. The event will feature characters from your favorite Star Wars movies, plus free dog and cat adoptions sponsored by LEASH, Inc.
The 501st Legion will be on hand to pose for photos with you and your new family pet.
The shelter is located at 28123 County Road 561 in Tavares. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.