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Shocking Video Shows Live Iguana Found in Dumpster Behind Wichita Falls Petco

Iguana_in_Petco_Trash Wichita Falls
Live iguana found in Wichita Falls Petco Dumpster (YouTube)

Earlier today (Sep 8th) a shocking video was posted to YouTube by Mike Comella with the Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue. The video documents the finding of a live iguana in a dumpster behind the Petco pet store in Wichita Falls, Texas on Friday, September 7th.

In the video, Mike says that he frequently checks the dumpsters behind Petco looking for discarded items, like aquariums, that the Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue may be able to use. But this time Mike made a disturbing discovery. The video shows a box in the dumpster, with the Petco name clearly visible on the side, containing a smaller box labled ‘Contains 2 iguanas’ and from inside that smaller box, Mike pulls out a blue mesh bag with a live baby iguana inside.

Comella recounts the incident and says,

“I saw something inside the nylon mesh moving around. It startled me at first and I was horrified. After quickly verifying that he wasn’t suffering any visible external trauma and wasn’t in immediate need of life saving medical care or euthanasia, I had the presence of mind to leave him right in the bag that I found him in, and I stepped 5 feet over to my car to retrieve the camera. After the troubles I have had with this store over the years with regard to their, in my opinion, substandard treatment of animals (particularly reptiles), I knew that I had to document this right then…before I drove off…before I forgot to capture the scene as it was when I found him inside the Petco box.”

Watch the video documentation of a live iguana found in a dumpster behind Petco in Wichita Falls:
Warning: The video contains numerous explitives, viewer discretion is advised.

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Mike tells us that when confronted about the iguana in the dumpster, Petco management was less than cooperative. He says, “[The Petco General Manager] followed me to the parking lot to get my license plate number to report me to the police….I informed them of an atrocity and they acted as if I were a criminal for bringing it to their attention.”

This iguana is one of the lucky ones. According to Mike,

“The little iguana so far appears fine, and last night he received a nice warm soak in shallow water. Iguanas are semi-aquatic and very much enjoy the water, not to mention he was a little dehydrated. He will be given my typical rehabilitative care for his slightly emaciated and dehydrated state, and I would give his prognosis as excellent – but only because he was found in time. He may be adopted in the near future, but iguanas can grow to be large and powerful animals, and are not suited to novice keepers, therefore, I typically only consider previously experienced iguana keepers for such adoptions. Any adopter will be required to pass an application process and fill out a contract.”

This unsettling discovery comes on the coattails of a previous reptile neglect incident at the Wichita Falls Petco just two weeks ago that resulted in the death of different iguana.

Mike says that, in his opinion, the best outcome from all of this “is wide distribution of this story to bring attention to the matter, and effect some changes – policy wise and personnel changes – if that’s what it takes to prevent a live animal from being cast into a dumpster like this again.”

We contacted the Petco here in Wichita Falls and a representative from the store told us that the Petco corporate office has opened a formal investigation and that an official statement from the store will be released pending the findings of the investigation.

UPDATE (9/13/12): Petco’s corporate office has issued an official statement regarding this incident


The Wichita Falls Petco can be reached at 940-692-7302
Petco’s corporate office: 1-888-824-7257
You may also leave feedback on the Petco website by clicking here.

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