Huge tortoises seized from NJ home, taken to zoo

September 13, 2011 5:09:41 PM PDT
Four tortoises seized from a New Jersey home are being evaluated at a rescue zoo.

Some of them had cracked shells, which had to be sealed using a special epoxy.

But Popcorn Park Zoo General manager John Bergmann says they don't look too bad. Veterinarians specializing in exotic animals will examine them on Wednesday.

Richard Hines Jr. of Highlands is charged with possession of exotic species without a permit. His telephone was disconnected on Tuesday.

State Environmental Protection Department spokesman Larry Ragonese says neighbors reported what they described as "crying" by the tortoises and were feeding them. The tortoises - one weighing more than 500 pounds - were being kept in the yard.

The reptiles are Aldabra tortoises, which are second in size only to the Galapagos tortoise.