Woman convicted for throwing pet iguana

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The Independent Online

A woman who threw her pet iguana at a policeman was convicted of animal cruelty yesterday despite insisting he had been leaping to her defence.

Igwig, a three-foot green tree iguana, watched the proceedings from a tank at the back of Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court.

Afterwards, as he was returned to his grateful owner, Susan Wallace, 47, she promised not to take him to the pub again. Her mother, Joyce Wallace, said: "It's like losing a child and having it handed it back."

The court in Newport heard that the woman known locally as the Lizard Lady had been asked to leave the Anchor pub because Igwig's presence had upset customers. The doorman, John Rosenthal, said Wallace, described as extremely drunk, had smashed a window and thrown her pet at him twice when he ejected her.

She then went to Cowes police station, where she became abusive to a policeman, David Harry. "She threw the iguana at me and basically it stuck to my back," he told the court.

Police Constable Richard Van Arendonk told the court he had then come in to find the officer distressed. "PC Harry looked up and said, 'I'm glad you've arrived – would you mind getting this off my back?' I was a little bit startled as I walked up to him and saw a lizard in a vertical position by his ear," he said.

PC Van Arendonk said Wallace then grabbed Iguana and threw him again. The pet hit a filing cabinet and fell to the floor.

Wallace denied throwing Igwig, insisting: "The iguana probably jumped in defence of me – he's done that before."

Wallace, of Seaview, Isle of Wight, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering, and of common assault. She admitted criminal damage. The case was adjourned for sentencing on 2 April. The court decided not to confiscate Igwig because he was unharmed.