A woman and man were arrested Friday for keeping turtles in a confined space.

Court papers say Lesha Howard and Willard Hopkins were sitting on milk crates on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE when they were approached by cops. Howard and Hopkins admitted they were vending without a license, filings say. Besides selling cologne, wallets, and make-up products, they were peddling turtles, say papers.

The cops say the turtles were in a “small crate” and that there were 36 of them: “The crate was so small that the turtles had no room to move and were stacked on top of each other.” The two, who also face charges for vending without a license pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Saturday. Their next hearing is scheduled for April 22.

A recently released report from Turtle Conservation Coalition says turtles are suffering. The study warns that many of the world’s turtles and tortoises will become extinct in a few decades. Part of the problem is turtles being sold as pets and food: “We are facing a turtle survival crisis unprecedented in its severity and risk.”

Photo by Clearly Ambiguous Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0