A CRUEL pet owner cut the head off their bearded dragon when they were unable to pay vet’s bills, according to a North-East animal welfare group.

The North East Reptile Rescue (NERR) organisation was asked to take in the bearded dragon when its owner was left facing an unaffordable bill.

Unfortunately NERR – which currently looks after a large number of reptiles – was unable to assist.

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A post on its Facebook page said: “We could not help and now we have received a message this afternoon that the dragon has had his/her head chopped off and buried.”

The organisation has now urged people to think seriously before committing to the care of a reptile, saying: “(It’s) not just the cost of the animal, its food and its setup...think seriously about if you can afford a reptile specialist vet if your animal takes ill or has an accident, and also find out where your nearest one is.”

Describing the incident as disheartening, the post went on to say those who would struggle to afford expensive veterinary care should not take on a pet.

The North East Reptile Rescue organisation is staffed entirely by volunteers and relies on donations.

For more information about NERR or to rehome a reptile, visit nerr.org.uk.