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West Kelowna vet reminds residents not to use barbed fish hooks

Turtle saved from hook

A West Kelowna veterinarian is asking residents to remain vigilant when fishing this summer, after performing life-saving surgery on a turtle that nearly died from a barbed fishing hook.

Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital's Moshe Oz stayed at work until 8 p.m. on June 20 to help the turtle, who had the barbed hook caught just an inch away from its eye. 

Now, he's reminding residents keen on fishing to avoid barbed hooks, and fish away from the Shannon Lake pond where the turtles reside. 

"Every year summer comes and we have at least two, three cases of this," says Oz.

"Everyone knows where the [turtles] live at Shannon Lake, they have their spot, so please don’t fish there. We have the whole lake, you know.

"Fishing with the barb is a life sentence for them. They cannot really release it with the barb. What's happening is it takes some time for them to come and then I need to anaesthetize and take it out. It's quite complex to do an anaesthetic on a turtle and release a barb hook."

Oz says if a barb hook isn't used, and the turtle is affected by a regular fishing hook, he can at least operate on the turtle while it's awake and not put it under anaesthetic. 

He'd also like to remind the public to bring in any injured turtles they see, and not hesitate based on fear of consequences.

"Usually people are afraid to bring the turtle in because they think, maybe somebody would think that they did it, but bring them. Bring them to us so we can actually deal with it, and not let it die alone. There are lots of things that we can do to try to help the turtle, so if mistakes happen, we fix it." 

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