Snapping Turtles Under Attack--Take Action
May 17, 2013
Categories: Action Alert


The New York State legislature has introduced a  destructive bill (A2490) legalizing the capture and killing of snapping turtles by hand, hook, spear, clubbing, and hoop trapping. Snapping turtles have few protections under current law and these changes will dramatically increase the danger to these  vulnerable animals, and enshrine yet another form of animal cruelty into New York Law. The bill has passed the Senate is and  is currently in the Assembly Codes Committee. This proposed legislation is inhumane and based in bad science. Turtles are already  vulnerable to an existing  multitude of threats such as loss of habitat,  mortality rates of pregnant females crossing roadways, high  hatchling  death rates etc. Killing snapping turtles by traps will only increase their population loss. They need to be protected, not killed.

Would you please make a 30 second call ( simply leave a message with the receptionist)   and/or   email  to the following legislators.  

1.       Assembly Speaker  Sheldon Silver - (518) 455- 3791.

2.       Assemblyman Lentol, Chair of Codes -  (518)  455-4100

A sample letter can be seen below:

Dear Speaker Silver,

I am writing in hopes that you will do everything in your power to prevent Bill A2490, which legalizes the capture and killing of snapping turtles by trapping and other means, from becoming law.

Subsections 20-21 are extremely alarming:
"SNAPPING TURTLES may also be taken by spearing, catching
 21  with the hands, or by the use of a club or hook"

It is foolhardy as a matter of public-health policy to encourage people to obtain snapping turtles by "catching with the hands." While normally very passive and vulnerable, a snapping turtle's only defense is it's powerful snap, which can cause major injuries, if not permanent maiming. Why encourage the public to take such risks?

With regard to "spearing" or "the use of club, or hook", these are inhumane means of capture and should not be under consideration. Killing a snapping turtle by these methods will take hours, if not days, and cause severe pain and suffering to the animal. Moreover, these subsections reveal that this bill was not drafted with any knowledge or understanding of snapping turtle biology and behavior.

Our State reptile has existed unchanged for 90 million years and once walked with the dinosaurs. These animals do not reach sexual maturity until 12 years of age and there is a documented case of a common snapping turtle living to be over 130 years. (Biology of the Snapping Turtle, Gibbons.) Every reproductive female is vital to maintaining a stable population. With such reproductive fragility, a small reduction could easily spiral snapping turtles into extinction. The claim that harvesting of individuals is sustainable is outdated and is not supported by scientific study. They are in need of more protection, not less.  

Traps do not discriminate and there will always be by-catch and incidental kills. (see page 26 of the US Fish and Wildlife presentation This practice will stress the already fragile populations of New York's native turtles, such as the endangered Eastern mud and Federally listed bog turtle. Also impacted will be the threatened Blandings turtle, as well as the Eastern box turtle, wood turtle, spiny softshell and spotted turtle, which are species of special concern. Map and painted turtles and the diamondback terrapin will experience unsustainable takes as well.

By allowing trapping, you will render this state resource vulnerable to the insatiable appetite of the International food trade.

In the Unitied States alone, the annual trade of wild-caught amphibians and reptiles includes millions of individuals. During 1998-2002, the United States exported 26 million wild-caught reptiles (Herpetology, by Vitt and Caldwell.) Many foreign countries have hunted their indigenous turtles to near or complete extinction and are now fueling the increasing demands by importing turtles from the United States. Once one species is extirpated, the focus simply moves on to another species for exploitation. This should not be the fate of New York's majestic snapper.

Please see page 31 of the report on Operation Shellshock by the US Fish and Wildlife on an illegal poaching operation in New York. They confiscated over 2,000 pounds of snapping turtles illegally poached.

If trapping were to be made legal, by-catches and incidental takes would only grow, as non-permitted trapping will still take place. This Act will impede the ability of authorities to control clandestine illegal trapping, since this can easily take place under the guise of permitted activity. It will also create a cloak under which poaching (for food and the illegal pet trade) of other species can go undetected, as a classic smuggling technique is to include endangered and threatened species among legal shipments (Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery.)

The justification pertaining to "nuisance snapping turtles" is deceptive at best, there are already existing legal mechanisms (law enforcement, animal control and other licensed individuals) for dealing with nuisance animals of any kind. Unmolested snapping turtles are docile.

Please contact me regarding any action taken.

Patricia S Johnson
NY State licensed wildlife rehabilitator #1337

May 5, 2011
Categories: Action Alert

Empty Cages Collective ( received a phone call today (Wed., May 4, 2011) from an employee from a Family Dollar store in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The employee informed us that the store had a bird that was stuck in one of the businesses glue traps and he was encouraged to throw the bird and glue trap in the garbage. The Family Dollar employee was unable to bring the bird to ECC to receive help. 

Thankfully, an ECC volunteer was available and went to retrieve the bird and bring him back to our shelter space for assistance. Once we got the bird, we realized the bird had been suffering and severely stuck for hours. Luckily, ECC volunteers were able to delicately remove the house sparrow from the sticky mess without injuring his limbs (a difficult task!). This video was taken moments before we successfully removed the bird from the glue trap. The little guy is expected to make a full recovery and will be released back into the "wilds" of Brooklyn once he is fully recovered. 

Unfortunately, most animals who are caught in glue traps aren't so lucky. Animals caught in glue traps (from rats, mice, to birds, snakes, bats and other creatures) languish for hours and days until they die of dehydration, starvation, injuries (animals often break their limbs in a desperate attempt to escape) and asphyxiation (when the animal's noses and mouths become stuck in the adhesive material in the glue trap). No animal--deemed pest or otherwise--deserves to be so cruelly treated and killed. Companies like Dollar General & Rite Aid have agreed to stop selling glue traps, while other companies like JP Morgan Chase & Co., American Eagle Outfitters and Safeway have agreed to stop utilizing these cruel devices. 

Please help us prevent this cruelty from happening to other animals: 1) Please send a letter/make a phone call to this Family Dollar store (903 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11207-1317, (718) 366-6843) demanding that they cease using *and* selling glue traps at this location. 2.) Leave this Family Dollar store a bad yelp review ( to show that animal abuse is bad for business, and most importantly 3) write to Family Dollar's Executive Offices (P.O. Box 1017, Charlotte, NC 28201-1017, PHONE: 704-847-6961, EMAIL:, URL: and request a formal policy that prevents the sale or utilization of cruel glue traps in any of their stores! Please send us any responses you receive to

Urgent Action Alert! Stop the Illegal & Unethical Use of Animals As Prizes in Brooklyn, NY!
July 14, 2010
Categories: Action Alert

*Urgent Action Alert! Stop the Illegal & Unethical Use of Animals As Prizes in Brooklyn, NY!*

*Help Empty Cages Collective stop animal abuse!*

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel feast (now through July 18), the annual street festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is illegally using live animals as prizes in games of chance (hermit crabs, anole lizards and frogs). Besides being illegal, giving these animals away as prizes promotes the idea that animals are merely disposable commodities and puts the animals in the position of inevitably becoming victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment.

While it is not illegal to use fish as prizes, Our Lady of Mount Carmel church should cease this behavior as well. No animal should be treated merely as an object and taken home on a whim. Please contact the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement team and request that they immediately dispatch an officer to stop this behavior and confiscate the animal victims. Thus far, Empty Cages Collective's requests to the ASPCA have gone unanswered. Please also contact Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and request that they immediately halt the use of animals as prizes and relinquish custody of the remaining animals to Empty Cages Collective, an animal rescue and advocacy organization, for proper placement or eventual release into their native habitats!

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel feast street festival is taking place on Havemeyer Street (between N. 8th and N. 9th) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 11211.

ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement
(212) 876-7700. Ext. 4450

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
275 N. 8th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211-2102
(718) 384-0223
Web form

The Facts:
New York State Law States:
358-a. Live animals as prizes prohibited

1. For the purposes of this section "livestock" shall mean any domesticated sheep, goat, horse, cattle or swine.

2. No person shall give or offer to give away as a prize, or exchange or offer to exchange for nominal consideration, any live animal other than purebred livestock or fish in any game, drawing, contest, sweepstakes or other promotion, except when any live animal is given away by individuals or organizations operating in conjunction with a cooperative extension education program or agricultural vocational program sanctioned by the state education department.

3. The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations which provide guidelines, conditions and requirements when any live animal is given away under the exceptions provided for in subdivision two of this section.

4. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to civil penalty of not more than two hundred fifty dollars or in lieu thereof shall be guilty of a violation punishable solely by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars.

The Humane Society of the U.S. Position Against Animals As Prizes:

Please keep Empty Cages Collective updated on any responses you receive! (800) 880-2684 or!

- The Empty Cages Collective
ph 800-880-2684