A Key West man was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after police said he tried to sell live iguanas hog-tied with duct-tape and dangling from his bicycle handlebars.
Jeremy Dugas, 35, was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor animal cruelty for carrying the three reptiles "upon his bicycle [that] were hanging from the handle bars by their legs, which were tightly bound behind them in a cruel and inhumane manner," according to a report from Key West police officer Frank Betz.
Betz wrote that he and officer Scott Standerwick were on bike patrol on Duval Street about 2 p.m. when a woman flagged them down to tell them Dugas tried to sell her the bound iguanas to cook for dinner.
They found him sitting on his bike in front of the Banana Cafe at 1215 Duval St. with the iguanas hanging from the handlebars. The animals “had their front and back legs taped with duct tape, with a metal wire running to each set of legs, acting as a handle.”
Dugas told Betz he intended to eat the iguanas, which he said he caught at the Key West Golf Club on College Road on Stock Island. Betz wrote that Dugas said he asked the woman if she wanted to purchase the nonnative invasive animals “in order to make her leave him alone.”
Two patrons at the Banana Cafe confirmed the woman’s story, telling Betz they heard Dugas trying to sell the iguanas, according to Betz.
Mitchell Smith, an officer with the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was called to the scene and told police that Dugas‘ method of transporting the iguanas is considered cruel.
“During the removal of the tape, the iguanas remained completely still as though in shock,” according to the report.
The iguanas were placed in cages for transport to the SPCA animal shelter. Dugas was arrested.
Dugas reportedly told Betz that “he did not believe there was a problem with what he was doing but also acknowledged the public outcry from several passers-by who saw the condition of the iguanas.”
Bond for Dugas, a line cook, to get out of the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island is $5,000.
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