(The article being referenced by Ms. Kaplan can be found in the links section of topics and is titled "How to kill an Iguana")
Melissa Kaplan writes:
"The above article was reprinted in the August 1994 issue of News from the North Bay, newsletter of the North Bay Herpetological Society, with some commentary by me:
I received the NOAH newsletter in mid-July, read this article, and promptly got hysterical--and not just with laughter. Unbeknownst to me, July apparently was National Dump Your Iguana Month and people were doing just that. In a very short span of time I was given 6 iguanas: all very small for their age with calcium deficiencies, mouth rot, and respiratory infections -- and not one of them was tame, not even remotely so.
Most people spend more time (and put more money into) picking out an inanimate object with built-in obsolescence than they do when buying an animal of any sort. Animals, like much of the rest of our culture, have become disposable items, cool to have around until they get in the way, don't do anything interesting, get sick or are replaced by the latest exotic "thing" that comes along.
We are all only to happy to talk to people about how wonderful our animals are, the neat and interesting things we see them do. It is important, however, to talk about the not-so-fun things - setting up a proper environment and constantly monitoring it, the cleaning up, the buying and preparing of proper foods, the vet visits and how, with the many shortcuts that can be taken, there are so many things which cannot be skimped upon. It is important to be honest with our friends, acquaintances and even strangers when we see that, for whatever reason, they would not be able to provide what the animal requires. Some people are much too young, others are too peripatetic, students or young adults in transition who frequently move from place to place (which includes from home to school and back again). An uncomfortably large number of people get pets for the summer and dump them when it is time to leave for school or new jobs. Others get pets for the kids during the school year and dump the pet when the family leaves for summer vacation.
Still others get animals with no intention of keeping them beyond a certain point: iguanas over five feet, Burmese pythons over twelve feet, Nile monitors over five feet... And all are surprised and hurt when the zoos and wild animal parks don't want their precious pets or when people aren't clamoring to buy their animals when the time comes for them to get rid of the animals that have outgrown their cuteness.
Animals, like children, should be a lifelong commitment. Unlike children, however, animals will never become self-sufficient. You can't send them to camp, they will never go away to school, they will never head out on their own (unless or or someone else is careless securing their enclosure or the house), they will never be able to take themselves to the vet or procure their own food. About the only thanks you will get is an animal who poops and sheds properly and regularly, who consumes its food with gusto, and who becomes comfortable enough with you--through hard work on your part--to not bite, scratch, thrash or try to get away every time you go to pick it up."
It is the goal of this group to educate by sharing our experiences and love (oh yes we love our green companions), in our personal interaction and relationships with iguanas, with others. That is ALL we are talking about here. Iguanas!