Giant iguana banned from shopping center

Sept. 24, 2006 at 8:01 PM

NEWCASTLE, England, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Paul Hudson had been walking Big Ig, his 4-foot iguana, through Britain's Gateshead shopping center for eight years -- but the mall is making him stop.

Since 1998, Hudson has walked the Californian iguana through Gateshead's MetroCentre when it got too cold to walk outside, the Newcastle (England) Evening Chronicle reported.

But on Hudson's last visit he and Ig were surrounded by security guards and told that he wasn't allowed to walk the iguana there any longer.

"I've been taking him there once a week for eight years and was never asked to leave before," said Hudson.

He also takes his lizard on the bus and has never had trouble with that, he said -- and Big Ig rides free.

"Unfortunately we can't allow Big Ig into the center to shop, but if Paul is interested we could talk about bringing Big Ig back as part of a future animal event, providing health and safety issues are considered," a MetroCentre spokeswoman said.

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