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Mystery iguana spotted hanging out in Rome

By NICOLE PITT

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - There's an iguana on the loose in Rome. A Hamilton Street resident saw the lizard on her neighbor's lawn. Then the iguana took off running and climbed up a tree. That's where the lizard stayed for the next several hours.

It's definitely a rare occurrence, even for animal control. "I've been doing this for about 8 years and I think we've had two," said Kimberly Vaughn, Animal Control Officer for the City of Rome.

Our NEWSChannel 2 crew saw a post about the iguana on the Mohawk Valley Pet Lost and Found Facebook page and arrived on the scene before the homeowners knew what was going on. Harry Pritchard came outside when he saw us staring up at the tree in his yard. "It's the first time we've had an iguana in my tree," said Pritchard. "We've had all kinds of other animals but not anything like that exotic. I've seen it on television. I've seen the two guys that are survivalists hunt them down, but that was on a tropical island. Not Rome, New York!

The City of Rome mainly deals with dog control and reaching this iguana 25 feet up a tree is a dangerous task. "They are incredibly fast and when they climb a tree it's not a good situation," said Vaughn. "The next step is going to be up to the property owner. I've advised them to contact pet shops if it's still here. Most likely it's going to climb down when everyone clears here."

"I'm gonna wait til it goes down and goes away," said Pritchard. "I'm not going to do anything. Anybody that wants it can have it. I think it's somebody's pet."

"It could've been turned out because of it's size or it could have escaped," said Vaughn. "We'll definitely look into that and see. The media is wonderful and with Facebook we can see if anyone is missing one and we can get in touch with them."

The home owners were calling friends who could help them bring the lizard to the ground. Around 9pm Wednesday the iguana was no longer visible in the tree but nobody saw it climb down so they believe it just climbed up higher.

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