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Posted by Robert Sposato on January 21, 2002 at 10:27:36:
This is an article posted in a local newspaper. Several references in this article point to our hobby's decline as we know it. First, is the fact that seven lizards were allowed to either roam free or got out of their cages (either way it's a bad example to set by any responsible Herp owner). next is the fact about the permits. The whole story is cloudy but either way, this is another fine example of one of the ways we can put our hobby in jeopardy. Just for the record, according to the SPCA, the lizards involved were 2 Savannas, 4 Niles and one Crocodile Monitor (like they would know)!
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DOVER, Delaware (AP) -- Several flesh-eating pet lizards were found feasting on the corpse of their owner in his apartment, police said.
Police were called to Ronald Huff's apartment in Newark, Delaware, on Wednesday after a relative became worried because Huff failed to show up for work, investigators said.
Officers found Huff's body on the floor, with his pet Nile monitor lizards feeding on his flesh. The state medical examiner is investigating the cause of death. Huff, 42, had last been seen Sunday, New Castle County police said.
Workers with the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recovered seven lizards, the largest measuring 6 feet long and weighing 25 pounds. "They're alive and well," said SPCA director John Caldwell. He added that one of the reptiles recovered was acting aggressively, "actually going toward you, mouth open."
Caldwell said the lizards have small but very sharp teeth and muscular, whip-like tails that can seriously injure a person. In the wild, they eat eggs, birds and other animals. The SPCA will try to place the lizards with zoos or educational groups, Caldwell said. Barring that, they will have to be euthanized due to the inability to properly care for and house the lizards.
The lizards are considered exotic pets in Delaware and cannot be acquired without a permit from the state Department of Agriculture. State veterinarian Dr. H.W. Towers said the department stopped issuing such permits for New Castle County residents in 1997 after the county passed an ordinance to stop the proliferation of exotic pets.
Caldwell said he was told that Huff was granted an exotic pet permit several years ago. Towers said he didn't know, however, if Huff had permits for all the lizards. "If somebody had come for seven monitor lizards, somebody would have said something to me," Towers said.