A woman who allegedly hit a Greek tortoise at the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden with a stone that resulted in killing the animal made an appearance in court on Sunday after she was arrested.
The woman talked to journalists after appearing in court without a lawyer. The prosecutor is asking the court to monitor the woman, force her to check in with authorities and she is not allowed to either leave the city or visit the zoo.
The injuries were so severe that the veterinarians could no longer help it, so the only option was to kill the turtle. The animal could have had enormous pains, as the armor covering his body on the abdominal and dorsal sides was completely split in two-finger and two-finger widths, and his internal organs were severely damaged.
Staff checked the surveillance camera and clearly caught the perpetrator and a person accompanying the woman.
The perpetrator, according to footage, took the animal out of the enclosure and then went looking for a stone and struck the animal with it.
The Greek turtle (Testudo hermanni) is a Mediterranean turtle species native to southern Europe. According to the legislation in force in Hungary, it is considered to be a significant species in the European Community and is included in the list of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (which Hungary joined in 1985). In the event of the destruction or damage of individuals of such animal species, a crime of natural damage may be committed as provided for in Section 242 (1) of the Criminal Code, which shall be punishable by imprisonment of up to three years.
According to news reports from Hungary, the woman gave her name to journalists but there was some uncertainty about whether she was 100 per cent aware of what she was saying.
The woman came up with an unexpected explanation of why she killed the turtle:
I wanted to draw attention to myself so I didn’t have to beg or become a prostitute.
While, according to origo.hu, she claimed that she wanted to show her friend who accompanied her at the zoo “how a tortoise dies.”
The woman, appearing unhinged and speaking erratically, said she “…didn’t want to become famous because of a tortoise” and that she has been homeless for the past three months. She claimed that she did not want to go to jail, yet “it might be safer” for her there, adding that she has not received any help and has had to live on the streets.