Turtles tagged with swastikas at Gene Coulon to get rehabilitation

RENTON, Wash. — Several turtles that were painted with swastika symbols on their shells at Gene Coulon Park were recovered Friday, officials with the Renton Police Department said.

The City of Renton stepped in, getting federal help so the turtles can be rehabilitated. This comes after the police fielded calls from concerned people in the community as pictures spread on social media about the markings on the animals.

Police said the turtle's shells will be conditioned, and they will be placed in a safe environment.

Pacific Northwest Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Miri Cypers, had called the swastikas tagged on the turtles troubling and unfortunate, "even though it appears it may have been painted in the wrong direction."

The symbols painted on the turtles were on them for more than a month.

On Saturday, a Rally Against Hate is planned for 1 p.m. at the park.

"Many of us are upset to see this in our own backyard," said organizer Chad Cashman-Crane.

Police said the species of turtle is not native to Lake Washington, so someone left them in the park.