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Tortured Calif. tortoise returns home

Sat Aug 18, 12:04 AM ET

A 42-pound pet tortoise that was slashed and mutilated after being stolen from a family’s yard is home following more than a month in a rehabilitation center.

The tortoise, Bob, heartily ate a meal of hibiscus flowers and roses — its first since having a feeding tube pulled from its neck, owner Dorothy Sullivan said Friday.

“He’s eating like a pig,” she said. “He’s doing great and we’re pretty excited.”

The 25-year-old African spurred tortoise was snatched from Sullivan’s yard on July 7. Police, following an anonymous tip, found the injured animal behind an apartment complex several days later.

The tortoise’s hind legs were badly cut, a toe was cut off, its neck was slashed and its shell was punctured with a sharp object. The attacker tried to cut the animal out of its shell and threw it against a wall, police said.

Jose “Tony” Mosqueda, 18, of Ventura, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. He pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison, prosecutors said.

Sullivan said Bob is a friend to her 6-year-old autistic son William, who rarely spoke to people but chattered to the animal. She said the boy was withdrawn during the tortoise’s stay at Turtle Dreams, a Montecito rehab center, but has started talking again since Bob’s return.

“It’s made a good impact on our son. He’s sleeping through the night and he’s opening up,” Sullivan said.

A benefit concert was planned for Sunday at a Ventura night club to raise money to help pay the animal’s veterinary bills.





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