Iguana thrown inside restaurant suffers broken leg; man charged with animal cruelty

Arnold Teeter

PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- The iguana that was thrown inside an Ohio restaurant is now recovering from a broken leg.

Officers were called to the Perkins in Painesville shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday for a disorderly customer.

Painesville police said Arnold Teeter, 49, laid down in a booth and threw a menu at a waitress. When he was approached by the manager, Teeter allegedly pulled an iguana out from under his sweatshirt and starting swinging the lizard over his head. He threw the animal, which missed the manager and landed on the floor, according to police.

Teeter picked up the iguana by the tail and left the restaurant.

(Photo courtesy: Painesville Police Department)

Officers searched the area and learned the suspect was outside the Painesville YMCA. Police said they found Teeter walking through traffic as cars swerved to avoid hitting him. He struggled with law enforcement in the street before he was handcuffed.

Police removed the two-foot iguana from his shirt. Department staff cared for the animal until it was transferred to the Lake County Humane Society.

According to Painesville police, an exam at the Animal Center of Euclid revealed it suffered a leg bone fracture, which will required surgery. It has metabolic bone disease, is missing part of its tail and is in poor condition.

Teeter was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and cruelty to animals. He pleaded not guilty in Painesville Municipal Court Wednesday afternoon and his bond was set at $10,000.

During the hearing, Teeter was disruptive and repeatedly swore at Judge Michael Cicconetti. The humane society requested he surrender the iguana, but he refused.

“I want my f****** lizard back,” Teeter yelled.

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