A South Florida reptile store owner is facing battery and animal cruelty charges after authorities say he struck employees with a bearded dragon lizard and put it in his mouth.
Benjamin Herman Siegel, owner of Siegel Reptiles, was arrested Friday at the business on West Hillsboro Boulevard in Deerfield Beach, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office arrest report.
Siegel, 40, remained behind bars without bond Monday, jail records showed. It was unknown if he has an attorney.
According to the report, video surveillance captured Siegel throwing the animal in the air and swinging it in the air multiple times. He also hit employees with the bearded dragon multiple times and threw Gatorade on them, the report said.
"The defendant did unnecessarily torment the animal, handling the animal in a cruel and/or inhumane manner and intentionally committed an act to the animal which results in excessive and repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to the animal," the report said.
The reptile store made national headlines in 2012 when a man died after consuming dozens of insects and worms during a roach-eating contest at the shop.