AN exotic lizard was dumped and left to die in its tank next to a waste disposal site.
The badly malnourished bearded dragon, called Chaplin, only survived after a chance discovery by a dog walker.
An animal charity condemned Chaplin’s owner for throwing him away “like a piece of rubbish” and warned that, if caught, the person could be banned for life from keeping animals.
Chaplin is recovering from his ordeal at a rescue centre in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire.
He is “really thin and pale” following his ordeal but is expected to make a good recovery and get a new home.
SSPCA rescue officer Stephanie McCrossan said Chaplin was found by a lady walking her dog in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.
She said: “He was really thin and very pale in colour.
“It’s possible he was ready to shed his skin and was in poor condition from a lack of nutrients in his diet.
“There’s no excuse for throwing an animal away like it’s a piece of rubbish.
“We see a lot of abandoned and unwanted exotic creatures coming into our care because people underestimate the hard work and knowledge required to look after these types of animals.”
Stephanie added: “Reptiles and bearded dragons in particular have very specific needs in terms of their environment, nutrition and care.”
Bearded dragons unusually enjoy a diet of vegetables as well as whole locusts and crickets and also require specialist reptile UV lights.
The Rescue Officer continued: “Anyone thinking of getting this type of pet should do their research and make sure that they have the time and resources to give their animal the life it deserves.
“Chaplin has since been receiving the care he needs at our centre and we’re appealing to anyone who recognises him and knows who he belonged to, to get in touch.
“We’ll look after Chaplin until we can find him a loving new home where he’ll be looked after properly.”
Abandoning an animal is an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and anyone found guilty of doing so can expect to be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.
Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.
By Jenny Kane