Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Only in South Florida - Iguanas Attack Cats

So things didn't go so hot down at the building department, where apparently baby bumps have no power over ridiculous laws. I just really think it's unfair to make someone pay for and do work against their will inside of their own house because someone else, many years ago, without their knowledge did some unpermitted work and some jerk, busy body neighbor with an inexplicable vendetta decided to call the city about it. I'm sorry but this is the kind of crap that makes me almost turn into a Libertarian. I do not understand. It's not my fault. I didn't even know about it and people should be allowed to do whatever they want on the insides of their own houses (outsides I get, but this is piddly inside stuff). One day I will do a post about this horrible man and the terrible things he has done to all the neighbors and how everyone hates him, but right now I just can't expend the energy on him and I just hope he's ready for when I call on him because his eyesore of a boat is leaking oil into the Intracoastal. How about that?

So can we talk about cats instead?

Every summer when I stay at my parents' house, I look forward to nightly visits from the neighbor's cat Pepper who comes to have fights with Canela through the glass patio doors. For the past few summers these cats have entertained me more than any TV program, but this summer, suddenly, no Pepper. (If you'd like to see Pepper in all her glory, check out this post as a refresher.) I was very worried that something terrible had happened.

Just recently I ran into the neighbors, Pepper's family, at Panera and I mentioned the lack of Pepper. Turns out there had been an accident and I just couldn't believe it.  This is one of those "only in South Florida" kinds of stories.

Pepper had been brutally attacked by an iguana and almost hadn't made it. (As I'm writing this I am looking out the window across at the neighbor's house and am happy to report that I actually see Pepper and her family out in their yard right this second.)

We have an iguana problem here. I hate the things. They aren't a native species, but they thrive in this environment where they are a big nuisance. They poop all over the place and their poop looks like dog poop and they eat landscaping. I tried to grow some plants in containers and the iguanas had a feast. They'll eat every bloom off a hibiscus in a day if they can reach it.  Iguanas also hang out on docks, swim in the canals and the suckers are mean. They'll come after you if they feel threatened. Iguanas come in many sizes. They aren't cute, harmless little things like our anoles. They can be up to five and six feet long and look like dinosaurs.

And apparently they're dangerous to our pets as well as Pepper found out the hard way.  The iguana that attacked her actually grabbed her around the waist with its sharp claws and bit into her back. I've heard that the big lizards have some kind of deadly bacteria in either their claws or teeth or both and that if an iguana breaks the skin and that bacteria enters the bloodstream of a person or animal that it can be very bad. This is what happened to Pepper. She had multiple absesses, blood poisoning and deep wounds. She's lucky she got away from it and what's odd is that iguanas are vegetarians, so it wasn't attacking her to eat her. It was attacking her out of aggression. The poor kitty spent her summer in and out of surgery and recovering in a box inside the house where she was full of tubes and drains and getting pumped with antibiotics and pain killers. I can't even imagine.

Luckily Pepper is ok now, but she can't go out of her own yard and is now only allowed supervised visits outdoors, lest she get hurt again.

Earlier I got to see her for the first time all summer and she had a patch about the size of two kitchen sponges on her back where the hair had been shaved, but is now starting to grow back. I got a good look at her scars and wow, that's some scary stuff. She is one lucky kitty-cat. That lizard did a number on her.

Here's to Pepper's lucky recovery. Again, only in South Florida do you have to worry about giant lizards attacking your pets.


Melina said...

It's true that up here in Alberta, Canada, we don't have to worry about iguanas. We do, however, have to worry about coyotes carrying off our smaller dogs. The terrier down the street became a meal to the coyotes living in the river valley which runs behind the houses.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to disagree with you on fixing code violations. The building code and the permit/inspection process is there for a reason - it used to be common for people to get injured and killed by shoddily done work. And since usually house goes through multiple owners over its life, the likelihood is that the person getting hurt is not only not the one who created the problem, they probably didn't even know it existed.

That said, you may be able to recover part or all of your costs for the work in bringing your house up to code from someone. The seller had a duty to disclose problems like this, the building inspector should have caught them, the title insurance may cover it. You need to call the real estate attorney who handled your closing. If you didn't have an attorney, schedule a consultation with one or two different ones and see what they have to say. It'll probably cost you $100 per consultation and at least you'll know if there's anything you can do. One tip, bring all the documents related to the sale to the consultation: contract, inspection report, closing docs, title insurance, etc.

- lowwall

Pea said...

Poor thing. When I lived in Boynton Beach there was in iguana in my neighborhood that people would strawberries out for. Luckily for us he never attacked any of our pets probably because he was happy about the strawberries. In South Florida people do need to worry the most about the cane toads. If a dog or cat gets a hold of one, the poison on the sacs behind their eyes is deadly. My dog got a hold of one and we were lucky enough to have an emergency animal hospital nearby otherwise he wouldn't have made it.

Living in Fl myself, I sympathize with you having a Mr.Code. They are everywhere down here, usually retired and have nothing better to do with their time anymore. There was a lady in my neighborhood who walked around with a camcorder filming through people windows.

kerry said...

Poor Pepper. Glad she's recovering!

JoeinVegas said...

I too feel sorry for the retired old farts that are so lifeless the only thing that brings joy is bothering others. Sadder for those of you that live near them.

LegalMist said...

Non-native species are a real nightmare. And the problems start when people have them as pets and then get tired of them and "set them free." I blame the exotic pet industry. Why can't people simply be happy with dogs and cats as pets?

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick said...

I'm the opposite of a Libertarian. I think there should be a huge tax on exotic pets and the money should be used to capture and euthanize the stray ones. No matter where you live, you're going to have animals eating your garden. But in Florida, it just figures that it's something creepy and scaly with poison in its teeth.

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