Tortoise found wandering streets of Santee

Debbie Kezele searching for tortoise's owner

SANTEE, Calif. - A search is underway Monday for the owner of a 60-pound African tortoise found wandering the streets of Santee on Sunday.

On Saturday, a 150-pound tortoise was found wandering the streets of Los Angeles suburb Alhambra. It was reunited with its owner a short time later.

One day later, a 60-pound tortoise was spotted walking the streets of a Santee neighborhood. This time, the person who found it called Debbie Kezele – who has two desert tortoises – to see if hers may have gotten out.

"As we walked down, there was a crowd gathered around just following this giant African tortoise and we have desert tortoise, so I knew it wasn't mine," Kezele told 10News.

However, Kezele could not let the tortoise wander lost and afraid, so she had two guys load him up into the back of her truck and she took him to her house.

"I called the Tortoise Society and he is on Craigslist and I put up posters, but we haven't heard from anybody yet," said Kezele. "I'm sure if he is someone's, they are missing him."

Kezele's family named the tortoise "Monstro" and is concerned about the crack on the back of his shell.

"We're not sure if he has been run over before and it healed or if he wasn't fed properly and that is a defect," said Kezele.

A baby African tortoise can fit in the palm of your hand, but they can grow to be 200 pounds and live for 150 years. With Monstro's size and weight, Kezele worries that his owners may have abandoned him.

"He eats a lot," she said. "He can grow to 200 pounds. He can destroy your backyard. They are aggressive, so they don't get along with other pets well and he eats a lot so you have to be able to afford the grocery bill."

If the owner does not come forward, Kezele will call the Tortoise Society for help and see if they can find a home for him.

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