600-Pound Tortoise Seized From NJ Home

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011  |  Updated 2:12 PM EDT
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Kenn Bearman

This isn't the tortoise seized from the man's home but it looks similar.

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Authorities have charged a New Jersey man who owned four tortoises, including one weighing between 500 and 600 pounds.      

Richard Hines Jr. of the Highlands is charged with possession of exotic species without a permit.      

State Environmental Protection Department spokesman Larry Ragonese says neighbors reported what they described as "crying'' by the tortoises and were feeding them.

The tortoises were being kept in the yard on Sept. 1.      

Officials had given Hines 10 days to improve their conditions.      

The reptiles were taken to the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township Tuesday for evaluation.      

Ragonese says one tortoise weighed more than 200 pounds and two were 50-pounders. The reptiles are Aldabra tortoises, which are second in size only to the Galapagos tortoise.      

The owner had moved from North Carolina in June.           
 

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