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Puppy, turtle rescued in Florida Keys

May 30, 2012 at 3:59 PM

MARATHON, Fla., May 30 (UPI) -- Boaters in the Florida Keys said a 3-pound puppy was rescued about 2 miles from land one day after a 370-pound sea turtle was freed from a stone crab trap.

Geni Hernandez, a detective with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, said she and her husband, George, were returning from an offshore sand bar Sunday off Big Coppitt Key when she saw an object floating in the water, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

"I can't believe how big the ocean is, and we just rolled up her," Hernandez said. "My husband said it was a buoy, but I said, 'No, slow down. Slow down.' It was a puppy swimming for dear life, and not another boat around. I almost died."

She said she was able to find the tiny canine's owner through a friend of a friend, and the woman said the dog had gone missing while she was returning from the sand bar and she did not notice he wasn't in the boat until returning to shore.

Chris Zinmeister said he was fishing the previous day with his father, Tom, and his 12-year-old son, Zach, off the coast of Marathon when they came across a 370-pound sea turtle with its right flipper caught in a stone crab trap.

The men returned to shore and picked up Tom Luebke, a rehabilitator with the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, and brought him to the trapped animal, which is estimated to be between 60 and 80 years old.

Luebke said the turtle, the largest ever treated at the Turtle Hospital, will have its flipper amputated this week.

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