WILLIS, TEXAS - One woman is grateful her dog is alive after she says a 25-pound exotic lizard attacked it Sunday evening.
Molly Doughtery said she went to New Orleans to celebrate her birthday this weekend and left her dog, who’s ironically named Nola, with her parents. She was about to board her flight home Sunday evening, when she gets a call from her mom, screaming that her dog had been attacked by a very large lizard.
"I was hysterical. I was like what's happening to my dog?" Dougherty said.
During a routine trip to the bathroom Sunday evening, Dougherty said her dog, Nola, a pitbull/boxer mix, spotted an exotic lizard in the backyard and lunged at it.
"Nola just took off after it because she knew it wasn’t supposed to be there. She immediately just started going after it and obviously it's going to fight back. It was terrified, I’m sure. They have teeth just like a large dog would. It’s essentially like a big, large dog fight," Dougherty said.
The attack left Nola with bloodied wounds in her face, head, and chest, and limping in her hind leg. The fence now stained with blood. The vet bill now totaling upwards of $3,000.
"The worst part about this situation is she now has a torn ACL which is a pretty big surgery and recovery so it’s a 6-week recovery process," Dougherty said.
Dougherty said she filed a report with Panorama Village Police, who then called a state-licensed wildlife rehabber with All Things Wild to remove the reptile.
According to the expert, the exotic lizard is called an Argentine black and white tegu.
Dougherty said it's apparently not the first time it’s been spotted in the Willis area.
"Someone else posted on our Panorama page that she had seen one in her yard on the same street last year. And I'm like ok now we don’t have to worry about snakes, possums, and raccoons, now we have to worry about lizards because a pandemic was not enough," Dougherty said.
Nola’s now on antibiotics, pain meds and has an impending surgery. Although she’s okay, Dougherty’s issuing a warning to others.
"I would just say to go out and check your yard before you let your dogs out because my parents have a small wiener dog and if Toby would’ve come out, it would’ve killed him instantly. 100 percent or a child," Dougherty said.
Wildlife experts believe the lizard belonged to someone and may have been let loose because it had an infection and appeared critically injured. They warn anyone who possibly spots an Argentine black and white tegu lizard to be careful, not approach the reptile and call the authorities to safely remove it.