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Lawmaker inundated with calls on wayward 30-pound tortoise

    Jonathan Hanks, left, found an abandoned 30-pound tortoise in the driveway of his Kane­ohe home on New Year’s Day. He brought it to the state Capitol on Monday, where John Mizuno, vice speaker of the state House of Representatives, called a news conference in the courtyard to pre­sent the tortoise’s plight. Mizuno said Hanks has been unable to find a home for the animal and is caring for it in the meantime.

A 30-pound tortoise found in the driveway of a Kaneohe home on New Year Day may be reunited with its owner.

The tortoise is being turned over to the state Department of Agriculture to help determine its rightful owner after several people stepped forward to claim it Wednesday.  

Since holding a press conference Tuesday to make a public appeal to find the tortoise a home state Rep. John Mizuno said his office has been swamped with calls from people claiming to own it or who want to take it in. 

"Our office was inundated with well over 50 calls" said Mizuno. "Some claimed to own the tortoise, others offered it a home, we even received calls from the mainland willing to have it shipped there. Our concern was that the proper protocol was followed and insure that the tortoise is returned to its proper owner."

The tortoise, found by Kaneohe resident Jonathan Hanks on his driveway, will be getting picked up Wednesday by agriculture officials with the expertise to determine its owners through photos and markings, Mizuno said.

"Hopefully in the future anyone who may find themselves in contact with an exotic animal turns it over to the Department of Agriculture to insure that the animal is not carrying any communicable disease or invasive species," he said.

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