Two turtles spotted Tuesday disturbed park goers: Their shells were painted with what appear to be swastikas in bright, thick lines.
The animals, which were spotted at Gene Coulon Memorial Park Beach, were brought to Renton residents’ attention on a community Facebook group. The post generated hundreds of reactions.
Other commenters shared they’d also seen the turtles recently and added more photos of the painted shells.
Renton Police Department posted the afternoon of Nov. 5 that they were contacted about the turtles and Animal Control Services would be keeping an eye out for them at a sunspot they like to perch in the water.
Renton City Parks and Trails Director Cailín Hunsaker said they are working with the USDA Wildlife Services to coordinate capturing the turtles. From there, Hunsaker has reached out to local nonprofits to help clean the animals and remove the graffiti.
Chad Cashman-Crane and others are hosting a Rally Against Hate at Gene Coulon in response to the turtle tagging at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9. Crane said they hope folks will demonstrate against a cross-section of issues: treatment of wildlife in public parks and hate symbols.
“We hope as a community people will show up and strongly say this isn’t OK,” Crane said. “(This rally is) about coming out and standing up for our parks, wildlife and against hate.”
Crane said the incident was shocking, especially to see something like that to be in your own backyard. Crane said they’ve also reached out to several organizations to create a strong response against this.
Officials in Florida state had to release a statement in 2016 asking folks not to paint the shells of turtles after it happened several times in local parks. The paint can harm their ability to absorb vitamins from the sun, create respiratory problems and possibly get toxic chemicals from the paint into their bloodstream.