The Sulcata tortoise stolen from animal sanctuary is returned by woman who adopted him from a pet store

By People Staff
Updated August 27, 2009 08:54 PM
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When Karen Todd first laid eyes on “Gorgeous George” in a Kent, England, pet store, it was love at first sight. After she brought the tortoise home, he quickly made friends with her children and two other tortoises. All was well for the turtle lover until her father-in-law pointed out a recent article in the Daily Mail: More than 30 tortoises had been stolen from a sanctuary in Cornwall.

Todd (pictured above) was immediately concerned that her new friend George may have been among the stolen goods. “I’ve never been so attached to an animal in all my life and he was so special to me,” Todd tells the Daily Mail. “But when I read the article, I knew he was probably from the sanctuary.”

She learned her instinct was right after phoning the sanctuary’s owner, Joy Bloor. “I know what having a pet stolen is like and it’s only right that he goes back with her,” Todd said. “I will be devastated to see him go, though.”

Bloor made the trek to Todd’s home–some 300 miles across England–to claim the 15-year-old tortoise that she had named Zeus.

“As soon as Zeus saw me he recognized me and bounded over. I started to cry as I didn’t think I would see him again,” said Bloor of her reunion with the Sulcata tortoise, a species native to Africa. “He’s been really well looked after and I’m eternally grateful for that. I feel so sorry for Karen as she became so attached to Zeus and I’m ever so thankful to her for ringing me.”

Zeus isn’t the only tortoise to have been plucked from Bloor’s Cornwall sanctuary. There are still 31 missing, including the 20 stolen the same night as Zeus. London police have made one arrest but are still searching for the remaining tortoises and thieves. Here’s hoping the turtle-nappers are brought to justice!

Tell us: Has your pet ever been stolen? Share your story in the comments below.