Utah Reptile Rescuer Denies Animal Cruelty Charge as 60 Animals Confiscated

February 7, 2018

A reptile rescuer in Salt Lake City, from his hospital bed, has denied animal abuse charges, as the county removed dozens of venomous snakes, alligators, turtles, and other animals from a warehouse where they were kept.

green iguana

Kai Mata/Shutterstock

Green iguana.

James Dix, owner of Reptile Rescue Service, apparently left the reptiles in a warehouse January 22 and supposedly told workers at the site that they would be removed in two days, but that time stretched to two weeks, according to KSL.com.

"20-years of my life I’ve dedicated, and now they're just trying to destroy the rescue and flush it down the toilet," Dix said.

Dix told KSL.com that he has been in the hospital and that is why he hasn’t been able to care for the animals the past few days. He did say that his friends have. His Facebook page shows a picture of him in a hospital room with a caption that says he had a heart attack.  “The last thing we would do is just leave our animals and walk away from it," Dix said. "That's not what happened."

Kyle Workman, a warehouse employee, claims Dix only came to the warehouse one time to feed and care for the reptiles, and said Dix told the workers that they would care for the animals.

George is back home. Thanks for all of the help. His owner is delighted

Posted by Utah's Reptile Rescue Service on Thursday, September 7, 2017

“It more or less came down to, ‘you will watch these animals,’” Workman told KSL.com. “‘You employ me, you are obligated to help me.’”

Workman called Salt Lake County Animal Services, which, with the assistance of experts with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, came to retrieve the animals.

Salt Lake County Animal Services spokesperson Callista Pearson told KSL.com that Dix was already under investigation for suspicion of animal cruelty and abandonment related to 150 animals in another space that Dix was occupying.

Pearson told KSL.com that the animals in that space appeared to have not been fed or watered for an extended period. Dix says it is not unusual that the animals he receives are undernourished and the issue is part of a dispute with the county.

"If we were abusing all of our animals, we sure as hell wouldn't be in business for twenty years," Dix said. "That's only logical."


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