Pet shop owner’s concern for Dave the chameleon

IPSWICH: The owner of a stolen chameleon today told of his concern for the animal’s welfare after burglars snatched him from his enclosure.

Phil Green is director of Suffolk Reptiles in Nacton Road, which was raided between 9.30pm on Friday and 8.30am the next day.

A rare panther chameleon named Dave, who is worth �185 and had only been in the specialist pet shop for ten days, was stolen along with a small vivarium worth �45 and a small amount of cash from the till.

Mr Green, a former Ipswich Borough Councillor who held the portfolio for community safety, spoke of coming in on Saturday morning to find burglars had smashed a 4ft by 18in back window to get into the shop, which has only been trading since June.

“The mesh tank that Dave was in had been ripped open and the contents of the tank had been strewn around the floor,” he said.

“They cut the wire mesh with a knife to get him out.

“All the alarms were going off to say all the tanks were below the proper temperature because the cold air had been blowing in all night, and that put all the other animals in danger. Whoever did this can’t have been a reptile enthusiast.”

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The burglary is estimated to have caused around �500 of damage, not including the loss of the valuable Madagascan reptile and tank, and Mr Green is now installing solid panelling around the rear of the shop to prevent any further crimes.

He added: “I hope that the generous offer by The Evening Star and the efforts of Suffolk Police’s forensic services can actually find him.

“My major concern is for the health and well-being of the chameleon, because they need a temperature-controlled environment. I wouldn’t like to think of him not being looked after properly. He’s a very friendly panther chameleon.”