Turtles in Washington park tagged with swastikas

Turtles in Washington state marked with swastikas

RENTON, Wash. — Several turtles at Renton's Gene Coulon Park stand out from the rest – swastika symbols have been painted on their shells, a sight that has stopped people in their tracks.

The City of Renton said it's now getting federal help to coordinate the capture of the turtles that have so far evaded animal control officers. Police have fielded calls from concerned people in the community as pictures spread on social media.

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

"What's going on?" said Aaron Greene, who saw the tagged turtles while watching Wednesday's sunset. "It's very bizarre."

Once captured, the city said the turtles, that have been painted with the symbols for more than a month, would be cleaned and given a checkup.

A "Rally Against Hate" is now planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at the park.

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