Bloke who beat iguana to death says it was self-defence

A man filmed killing a 3ft-long iguana in a 30-minute crazed attack claimed it was self-defence.

PJ Nilaja Patterson, 43, tried to dodge animal cruelty charges which could land him five years behind bars, by becoming potentially the first defendant in Florida to invoke the Stand Your Ground law against an animal.

CCTV footage outside Lake Worth Utilities in Palm Beach, Florida caught the 43-year-old launch a tirade of savage abuse lasting half an hour on September 2.

The court has not published the video publicly.

Backed by his legal team, Patterson claimed that the animal bit him first and needed 22 staples to treat the wound which he feared could have killed him with its 'poison', Daily Mail reports.

The court heard on Tuesday Patterson's defence that he should be protected by Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which gives someone the right to fight if they believe they are in imminent, life-threatening danger.

According to Patterson's attorneys, he "acted in a reasonable manner under all the circumstances because the wild iguana was first to engage with physical violence, during the encounter."

The judge rejected the argument of Stand Your Ground.

In the original arrest affidavit, the responding police officer who watched the video said: "The video clearly showed a man, later identified as PJ Patterson, drag an iguana by the tail. PJ Patterson is seen tormenting the iguana and eventually stepping on the iguana.

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"The iguana then appeared to bite PJ Patterson, who then was seen kicking and throwing the iguana multiple times.

"At one point, the iguana appeared to try and hide under a car. PJ Patterson continued to attack it, again kicking, swinging and throwing the iguana.

"He was observed going back several times to assault the animal. Later in the video, Palm Beach Fire Rescue and Palm Beach Sheriff's Office were shown arriving on the scene and providing care to PJ Patterson.

"PJ Patterson clearly tormented the iguana and when the animal attempted to defend itself, it sent PJ Patterson into a violent rage.

"He had multiple opportunities to regain his composure, but instead he chose to stalk the helpless iguana and deliver vicious strikes to the animal."

The vet who examined the iguana report that its lacerated liver and tongue, fractured pelvis, and bloody mouth and abdomen, were "painful and terrifying" injuries.

It's unclear when Patterson is due in court again.

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