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Iguana trappers shooting into yards in Lake Worth Beach neighborhood, upsetting residents

FWC says iguanas not protected in Florida, except by anti-cruelty law
Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 09:24:14-04

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla.  — Some residents in Lake Worth Beach are not feeling safe after they said iguana trappers are shooting into yards.

Melanie Valentine said her Lake Worth Beach neighborhood is "iguana central."

Iguanas perched along canal bank in Lake Worth Beach neighborhood
Iguanas are a regular sight in this Lake Worth Beach neighborhood.

"You can see they're always here," she said. "You see them everywhere and I don't know if you saw them in the front when you came."

Iguanas have overrun her neighborhood. There's an iguana in the grass, there's one acting like it's on the beach sunning itself, and another hiding in the brush looking at the camera.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, iguanas are an invasive species and are not native to the state.

Iguanas cannot be relocated. If a homeowner can't remove them properly, the FWC said a trapper should be hired. But therein lies the problem for Valentine.

"I was out here with the dogs, and I saw these guys coming south to north — seven guys on a flattop boat — and they all had guns," she said.

Iguana trappers with guns on boat in Lake Worth Beach neighborhood
This grainy still image from a cellphone video shows iguana trappers taking aim on a boat in Melanie Valentine's Lake Worth Beach neighborhood.

According to the FWC, iguanas are not protected in Florida, except by anti-cruelty law, and can be killed on private property with landowner permission.

Valentine said she has nothing against guns or getting rid of iguanas.

"I totally understand that, but they can't shoot into my yard," she said. "They cannot shoot towards my house, towards me or my dogs, which is exactly what they're doing."

Valentine said she filed reports with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. She said she has confronted several trappers shooting into yards.

Melanie Valentine says she doesn't like iguana trappers shooting in direction of her home and dogs
Lake Worth Beach resident Melanie Valentine says she has a problem with iguana trappers shooting in the direction of her home and dogs.

"And I screamed at them," she said. "I won't repeat what they said. A lot of them are very combative and they'll say all kinds of nasty things."

Valentine said she doesn't feel safe going outside with her dogs when the trappers are around.

"Everyone thinks they're a good shot, but they're not," she said.