Zooming the Turtle had been at Science World for over 20 years. The court heard William Edward Richardson “think the cage was too small”.
A Sechelt man was sentenced to six months probation on Friday after pleading guilty to stealing Zoomer the box turtle from Science World in Vancouver.
Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Elizabeth Burgess heard William Edward Richardson, 49, pick up the turtle while visiting the Vancouver attraction with his three children on July 19, 2021.
Burgess heard that the family did not believe Zoomer’s habitat was acceptable.
“In their non-expert opinion, they thought the cage was too small,” defense attorney Ryman Yeung told Burgess.
So Richardson went to his car, took some bolt cutters and took out Zoomer, the court heard.
Richardson took Zoomer to a lake “and spent five hours with the turtle watching it to see if it wanted to be released,” Crown Attorney Paul Pietrusinski said.
He said Zoomer’s species is not native to the West Coast and does not survive outside.
“We are aware that this could be the case with Zoomer,” Pietrusinski said.
The defense said Richardson did his research.
“He thought the warm climate in British Columbia would allow the turtle to survive here,” Yeung said.
The judge gave Richardson six months probation.
“You’re going to write a letter of apology to Science World,” Burgess said.
Pietrusinski said Science World staff expressed feelings of guilt over the loss of Zoomer.
The court heard that Zoomer was a well-groomed Science World Animal Ambassador and had been there for more than 20 years.