Humane Society officers continued to investigate and collect evidence today in hopes of tracking down the culprit who floated a box turtle taped to helium balloons into a tree in an Oceanside neighborhood.
The turtle floated gently to the ground when a gust of wind blew the bunch of green, lime and red balloons out of a towering eucalyptus tree on Humbolt Bay Way about 4 p.m.Sunday while firefighters were readying a rescue effort.
The liftoff point was believed to be nearby.
"Our humane officers have been investigating all leads and all information that has come in and hopefully we'll be able to identify the person responsible, but we're still collecting all the evidence at this time," said Kelli Herwehe of the San Diego Humane Society.
The roughly hand-sized turtle was not immediately put up for adoption, although that did not stop about a dozen people from making adoption requests, Herwehe said.
"As soon as we identify someone that did it, we'll be able to have a better time frame of when the turtle might be available," Herwehe said.
Herwehe said about a dozen people had also come forward claiming to be the turtle's owner, but did not have photos of their pet and could not provide a description.
A $2,500 reward offered Friday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals remains up for grabs for anyone who could point animal welfare authorities to the culprit.
"This helpless turtle was undoubtedly terrified by this ordeal,' said Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA's senior vice president of cruelty investigations. "Perpetrators of cruel or violent acts against animals are often repeat offenders, so it's crucial that this abuser be brought to justice immediately."
Tipsters are urged to call the Humane Society at (619) 243-3466.
—City News Service
For more Oceanside News, visit Patch’s Oceanside News Topic Page.