LAKE TEXOMA, Tex. (KXII) - A woman rescued a turtle covered in jewels from Lake Texoma Saturday. Now, she's spreading the story of the animal's struggle to save others from the same fate.
"As we were down here showing this slip, we headed back up and a little girl saw something she thought was an animal in the water."
Deziraye Wald said she was showing some boats at the Grandpappy Point Marina Saturday when she took a closer look at something shiny in the lake.
"We thought it was a piece of trash, but he was moving pretty quickly," Wald said. "As we got closer, we reached down trying to get it to come to us. He was really tired."
Wald bent down, held her hands out and scooped up little box turtle--covered in thick jewels, struggling to stay afloat.
She posted a picture to the Facebook page Texoma Pets Lost and Found to see if anybody knew something, which hundreds of people shared.
"He wasn't a water turtle, he was a land turtle. He was exhausted when I got him out, he was limp on my hand."
Wald says it was the third day in a row they had spotted turtles with decorations glued to their shells.
"Two of our mechanics found one with a bunch of quarters and dimes and pennies, and they couldn't get him out," Wald said. "Another customer reported a bigger one the day before with blue and red jewels."
She said the jewels appeared to have been hot glued on.
"It was really hard to get off, that's gotta be the heat penetrating through the shell as well," Wald said.
And that this weekend's festivals could have played a role.
"People have been decorating them and putting them for races and stuff."
An Eisenhower state park officer said releasing a domesticated turtle into the wild is a Class C Misdemeanor, and that bedazzling or decorating a creature harms them and is not recommended.
"They don't think about the repercussions," Wald said. "It leaves them open to predators."
One of Wald's co-workers took the turtle home and got the jewels off.
"He's eating lively now. I guess she's got another pet!" she said.