Florida man claims ‘stand your ground’ defense in death of iguana
LAKE WORTH, Fla. —
Man accused of animal cruelty after beating an iguana so severely it had to be euthanized has filed for immunity with Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
The filing says that PJ Patterson was “viciously attacked” by the wild iguana after he helped it cross a street in Lake Worth.
Authorities say they were called to Lake Avenue on reports that someone was seen beating an iguana.
When officers arrived, the iguana was still breathing but was unconscious and had trauma to its head and mouth.
The iguana was taken to Animal Control where it was humanely euthanized.
Deputies say there was video evidence of Patterson dragging the iguana by the tail, tormenting it, then stepping on it. At one point, deputies say the iguana bit Patterson who threw it and kicked it.
In a report by deputies, Patterson was sent into a “violent rage” when the reptile bit him. “Patterson had opportunities to regain his composure and stop assaulting the iguana, but instead PJ Patterson chose to stalk the helpless iguana and deliver vicious strikes to the animal,” according to the report.
In the filing made to dismiss the charge of battery, it says that Patterson let the iguana be after helping it cross the street but others around began to pet it and it started to appear agitated.
The filing continues that Patterson tried to calm it down and move it to a less crowded spot when it “leaned forward with its mouth wide open and showing its sharp teeth, in a threatening manner, and attempted to bite” him.
According to the filing, after several attempts to remove and gain control of the animal, it bit Patterson, so he kicked the iguana as far as he could.
“An altercation between Patterson and the wild beast took place. The wild beast was left incapacitated,” the filing continues. It then adds that Patterson was taken to a hospital to receive 22 staples in his arm.
The filing claims that the use of force was reasonable under the circumstances.