Reptile Store in Florida
A Florida reptile store owner is accused of turning a lizard into weapon and using it to assault his employees, according to police.
Benjamin Herman Siegel, the owner of Siegel Reptiles, was captured on video surveillance on Saturday striking his victims multiple times with a bearded dragon lizard, according to an incident report from the Broward County Sheriffs Office
The footage also captured the 40-year-old swinging the reptile through the air, tossing it above his head and placing the animal in his mouth, according to police.
He also threw Gatorade on his victims.A Florida man has been charged with animal cruelty after he used the reptile to attack employees at his pet shop. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK PLEUL GERMANY OUTPATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images
“The defendant did unnecessarily torment the animal, handling the animal in a cruel and/or inhumane manner and intentionally committed an act to the animal which results in excessive and repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to the animal, ” the arrest report said.
Native to central Australia, Bearded Dragons are popular pets who get their name from their ability to flare the skin under their throats when threatened or hostile, giving them a beard-like appearance, according to Petco.
Siegel was arrested at his business near Fort Lauderdale and charged with battery and animal cruelty. On Monday, a store employee declined to comment on the incident or put Siegel on the phone.
The reptile assault is not the first time Siegel Reptiles has made headlines. In 2012, a man died at the store moments after winning a roach-eating contest.
Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach died as a result of “asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents, ” according to the report released by the Broward County medical examiner’s office.
”It was quite amazing, because it looked like he hadn’t eaten breakfast, lunch or dinner, ” Mason Kahzam told the station. “And the guy definitely wanted to win that snake, at least that’s what it looked like to me, at first. I mean, unless he was really just that hungry. I wasn’t sure if he tried eating worms or snakes or what he tried to eat before he ate those cockroaches, but he looked like he knew what he was doing.”