Exmouth animal rescuer’s sadness after dumped lizard blinded and choked by tumours is put to sleep

PUBLISHED: 16:13 04 March 2019

The severely ill bearded dragon found dumped in a box in Exeter. Picture: CJS Exotics

The severely ill bearded dragon found dumped in a box in Exeter. Picture: CJS Exotics

Archant

A bearded dragon with severe tumours on its eyes and mouth had to be put down in what an Exmouth animal rescuer has said was a ‘preventable’ situation.

The severely ill bearded dragon found dumped in a box in Exeter. Picture: CJS ExoticsThe severely ill bearded dragon found dumped in a box in Exeter. Picture: CJS Exotics

The reptile was found in a superstore car park in Exeter at the end of last month.

Jon Spry, who runs Exmouth-based exotic animal rescue CJS Exotics, rushed to the scene after receiving a call late in the evening. However, when he arrived he shortly realised the horrific condition of the bearded lizard, which had been dumped in a cardboard box with no blankets or protection.

The helpless lizard had big tumours covering both of its eyes and its mouth, rendering it blind and gasping for air.

Mr Spry took the lizard to a vet the following morning, but the condition of the reptile was so severe nothing could be done to save it.

Mr Spry said: “The poor lizard must have been in excruciating pain. The decision was made by myself and the vet the only fair thing to do was to let him rest and put him to sleep.

“The most upsetting thing is that these and many more cases are completely preventable.”

Mr Spry said he knew ‘straight away’ that the condition of the lizard was extremely serious.

He added: “I gave it a full physical at the scene, but its eyes were closed shut because of the tumours.

“They had spread into his mouth, which had led to its breathing problems.

“I could hear it trying to breathe. it sounded like little squeaks.

“We managed to get it into the vets, but they said there was nothing that could be done.

“Even if they could have operated, it was so weak, he would not have survived the anaesthetic.”

Mr Spry said the condition of the lizard was one of the worst he had seen of a dumped animal.

“It does affect you, but you learn to channel that in different ways,” he said.

“It’s important to get the awarness out there and educate people as best you can.”

Last month, a Sidmouth vet took in a bearded dragon which was discovered in a shoebox.

The lizard was dumped in Stowford Rise play area, in what Jurassic Vets branded as an ‘appalling’ act of cruelty.

The case was reported to the RSPCA and the bearded dragon was rehomed.