Over 100 turtles pulled from contaminated pond in Chula Vista

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- While cleaning a large pond at Heritage Park in Otay Ranch, Chula Vista City crews discovered more than 100 turtles thriving in the muck.

The pond required cleaning after its water had become too contaminated over the years. Crews were not expecting to find the turtles that have been surviving on bread and other food tossed at ducks in the pond.

"The ducks and the turtles were living from people throwing food and other waste products, various kinds of garbage that contributed to the bacteria count, which was fairly high," said Brian Walther with Chula Vista's Public Works Department.

Walther said the water was so filthy, they had to dispose of it as if it was raw sewage.

But somehow the turtles, most of them dumped at the pond after they became too big as pets, managed to survive.

"Some of these, you pick them up and they feel really light. They were just eating the bread that people were throwing at the ducks or stuff like that. It didn't do anything other than fill them up," said Kim Thomas, whose turtle habitat took in the turtles.

Thomas is hoping people will want to adopt the turtles.

The City of Chula Vista plans to post signs asking people not to feed the ducks, hoping to avoid another messy problem in the future. Feeding ducks is a violation of state and federal laws.

Anyone who is interested in adopting can visit this website.