MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Nearly 300 animals have been seized following an undercover operation into the illegal selling of animals at three stores in the South Strand.
The investigation began last week, looking into Jaws Resort Wear on Hwy. 17 Business South in Murrells Inlet and Kings Beachwear and Pacific Beachwear both on South Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach.
Undercover agents with HCPD's Beach Patrol and Environmental Services entered those stores and were able to purchased turtles that were only one inch in length.
HCPD spokesman Sgt. Robert Kegler explains that Horry County Ordinance (4-11) prohibits the sale of turtles with shells under four inches in length. The ordinance, Kegler adds, is in place mainly due to Salmonella that young turtles carry in their body which can be transferred to humans through contact.
The investigation resulted in the execution of search warrants at the three stores on Thursday, where 298 turtles were seized.
The search also seized aquariums, cages, turtle medications, turtle food and turtle conditioners. Three clerks, 45-year-old Tracy Carter, 44-year-old Sigal Rowell and 39-year-old Joseph Mondigo, were issued courtesy summons for the sale of the turtles.
The seized animals were turned over to the Horry County Animal Care Center.
The Horry County Police Department would like to remind people of Horry County Ordinance 4-11, which prohibits the sale of turtles less than four inches in length. They will be conducting future operations to ensure compliance with the Ordinance.