Welwyn Garden City pair rescue poorly treated reptiles

PUBLISHED: 14:23 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:23 22 February 2017

Jack Evans.

Jack Evans.

Archant

A bearded dragon that was abandoned in the cold in Welwyn Garden City was saved by a dog walker and a pair of reptile enthusiasts.

Fran Folds and Jack Evans.Fran Folds and Jack Evans.

Linda Milton, of Welwyn Garden City, was walking her two dogs in Holwell Hyde Lane when the canines stopped and stared into a hedge and discovered a bearded dragon.

Linda took the reptile home and asked friends on Facebook what she should do with it.

Jack Evans who runs his own volunteer reptile rescue operation with Fran Folds was tagged and the pair made contact to assist Linda.

Jack, 21, of Knella Road, said: “People tagged me because they know we frequently rescue reptiles.

Taken just after the bearded dragon was spotted.Taken just after the bearded dragon was spotted.

“We gave Linda our details and went and picked up the bearded dragon the same day.

“We booked him/her into the vets straight away and our appointment is today to make sure that he/she is all okay and to find out the sex.

“He/she seems okay but was very dehydrated and I reckon was out there in the cold for two days.”

The pair started their rescue operation, Animal Pride, in 2004 and currently have 10 reptiles in their care. Last year they had around 50 which have now been rehomed.

The bearded dragon that was found in Welwyn Garden City.The bearded dragon that was found in Welwyn Garden City.

Jack pays for all their equipment and food out of his own pocket and has had a great love for reptiles since he was five years old.

Jack added: “We go to people’s homes if they’re interested in taking on one of the reptiles to make sure that they are well equipped and know how to look after one so that we can stop them being abandoned like the one Lisa found.”

Every year the RSPCA takes thousands of calls from members of the public about exotics pets and the number involving reptiles, in particular, has been steadily rising.

In 2015 the RSPCA investigated 2,772 calls received about reptiles, a 50 percent increase from seven years ago.

The top five reptiles that the organisation collects are bearded dragons, cornsnakes, royal pythons, terrapins and leopard geckos.

RSPCA exotics officer insp Anthony Pulfer said: “The RSPCA is experiencing widespread neglect of exotic animals and we are urgently trying to change this.

“For many people, an exotic animal represents too much of a commitment which is manifested in the growing number of exotic animals being abandoned, collected by the RSPCA and handed to shelters around the country.

“Many people do not realise what they are taking on when they buy these animals which can have disastrous effects.

“In so many of the cases, I see there are reptiles, such as bearded dragons and corn snakes, that have either been abandoned or neglected.”

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