May 11, 2010 3:42 PM by Melissa Canone
A proposal to require caretaker education for anyone who buys an
iguana at a pet store had been the subject of jokes in the Capitol,
where the razzing extended to the purchase of a temporary pet
iguana for the Senate.
But on Tuesday, the House Commerce Committee stalled the
Senate-approved bill (Senate Bill 368) in an 8-3 vote, after
lawmakers questioned the need for the proposal and the
appropriateness of singling out one reptile for the special
The bill would have required people who buy iguanas to sign
written statements saying they were advised of the proper care and
food needed for the reptile, were given a warning that an iguana
can carry salmonella and were told the iguana will grow
"substantially in size and will be more difficult to care for
The House committee vote was expected to kill the proposal for
the legislative session.
Sen. Buddy Shaw, R-Shreveport, brought the bill at the request
of a woman who with her husband co-founded Raptor Rescue, a
northwest Louisiana nonprofit that rescues and finds homes for
abandoned iguanas. Sara Gwerder said she hoped the bill would deter
people from buying iguanas as pets, unless they fully understood
the reptile's food and habitat needs.
Shaw said the iguana is one of the most frequently abandoned
reptiles in the United States.