I'd like to start by asking two questions about the laws in Prospect Park:
1. If someone has a pet Red Eared Slider Turtle that they no longer wish to keep, are they allowed to just dump it in the Prospect Park Lake?
2. If someone sees a Red Eared Slider Turtle swimming in the Prospect Park lake and wishes to just grab it and take it home as a pet, is that allowed?
I don’t believe it should be legal to dump a pet Red Eared Slider Turtle in the Prospect Park Lake. By nature, Red Eared Sliders do not live in the Northeast. Therefore it is obvious that these Turtles were once purchased in Pet Store, and dumped in the lake. Red Eared Sliders from Pet Stores are not taken from the wild, but rather bred in facilities by people looking to sell them and make money. These people do not take good care of their Turtles, and often feed them food like raw chicken - which can lead to them having Salmonella. And Salmonella spreads throughout pond water, can potentially kill children, elderly adults, and other animals - including dogs. Salmonella has done just that, many times.
So what I’m ultimately getting at is this: Red Eared Sliders purchased in pet stores, should not be swimming in the same pond as Dogs.
Prospect Park does allow dogs to swim in the pond (during certain hours). So why should Red Eared Sliders be allowed in that pond? If someone must dump their pet Red Eared Slider in a pond in Brooklyn, then it’s much better that they walk a few blocks over and dump the Turtle in Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s pond or the Prospect Park Zoo’s pond (both of which dogs are not allowed to swim in).
So what if a person takes a turtle from the lake and brings it home as a pet? Well, then that person is taking a chance of bringing Salmonella to their home. But I’d say that action is in the pond’s best interest, for the dogs who swim there.
If it were up to me, I’d make it so the Prospect Park Rangers were forced to catch all the Red Eared Sliders in the Prospect Park Lake (or at least catch as many as possible) and transfer them to either the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens’ pond, or the Prospect Park Zoo’s pond.