Someone is hurting iguanas in Broward, and neighbors want it to stop

'That could be your cat, that could be your dog,' wildlife rescuer says

By Ian Margol - Reporter

DAVIE, Fla. - Regardless of what you think of them, if you live in South Florida, you've gotten used to seeing iguanas everywhere.

But now residents in several Broward County communities are finding in recent weeks that some of these ubiquitous lizards are being maimed. A few of them have been found wounded by arrows. 

The neighbors are worried the culprit or culprits are harming the iguanas for thrills and could start targeting other animals.

"We have called police. We have called (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) and it's just sickening," said Helle Ruud, a neighbor who found an iguana shot with an arrow.

Ruud and Pamela Baggleman live in a Davie community just off Interstate 595. Since the beginning of 2018, they have seen nearly a dozen iguanas limping around with metal arrows sticking out of them.

"They're struggling on eating, swimming. My daughter had to go in the lake to unravel one from the weeds," Baggleman said.

Technically, as a non-native species, Florida residents are legally allowed to kill iguanas "humanely." The law dictates that the iguana's life must end instantly and without suffering.

The most common form of pest control -- poisoning -- is prohibited. People who freeze or drown an iguana could face animal cruelty charges.

Wildlife rescuer Daniel Drake said there's almost no way to do it legally.

"You can't do it inhumane, means you can't torture them, you can't shoot them and walk away. You have to shoot them with the first shot," Drake said.

Drake was called to a Plantation neighborhood last week with a similar issue. Someone had shot several iguanas with what appears to be a crossbow.

"It's pretty sad, pretty sick. … You have to think that could be your cat, that could be your dog," Drake said.

Now these Davie neighbors said they are offering a reward to help catch the person responsible.

 "Whether anybody wants to believe it or not they do have a brain and they do have a heart," Baggleman said.

Neighbors are they're worried the people doing this are just doing it for fun. They said they've also found some ducks with similar injuries.

And if someone is eventually caught, they could face charges of animal cruelty.

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