A vegan activist who ‘rescued’ a pig from slaughter and bathed with it in her London home sparked furious backlash online for using exfoliating body wash on her pet chameleon.
Alicia Day, 31, who lived in Southall, west London, bought the lizard at a pet shop in New York City and uploaded a picture to her Instagram account covered in cleansing scrub.
‘His name was Daddy, he was my baby,’ said Ms Day, who was also pictured taking baths with the her pig ‘Jixy Pixy’ before he was taken away by the RSPCA.
She posted the image of Daddy covered in suds on June 6, sparking furious comments from her followers.
One said: ‘This is so bad for your lizard, please do not do this, it is very dangerous.’
Alicia Day washed her chameleon, named ‘Daddy’, with exfoliating coconut body scrub
Ms Day told MailOnline: ‘I started getting a lot of online harassment from people on Instagram, like I was having hundreds of harassing messages a day’
Another said: ‘Yet another example of animal abuse. This is ridiculous. Please find him a new home where he’s actually taken care of.’
A third said: ‘Has anyone reported this owner/account to either Instagram or animal welfare?’
Another said: ‘What the actual f*** is wrong with you ? You’re killing this poor innocent chameleon.’
Ms Day told MailOnline: ‘I did put the chameleon in the body wash thinking that, you know, it was by my side all the time.
Ms Day uploaded this image to Instagram. Furious commenters said: ‘You’re so reckless. What are you doing to this poor animal’ and ‘You are going to burn your chameleon’
Ms Day dipping her chameleon in a fish tank. One outraged commenter said: ‘Why would you ever do this?’
‘After I got all the comments on Instagram telling me that hey you know their skin might react poorly to exfoliator I stopped doing it, it was like a learning experience.’
She said Daddy was completely fine afterwards, adding that she ‘only washed him like that twice.’
Ms Day says she received ‘hundreds of harassing messages a day’ online since taking ownership of the chameleon.
She uploaded an image of her chameleon sitting beside a bowl of soup, and one outraged commenter said: ‘You’re so reckless. What are you doing to this poor animal?’
Another said: ‘You are going to burn your chameleon.’
She explained that the animals need daily calcium supplements, and it is a common mistake for new owners to not know this. She visited a pet shop manager to check if he looked okay, and she said he was fine but his bones looked ‘weak’ and ‘meager’ because of the lack of calcium.
Animal rights campaigners slammed Ms Day for keeping eight-week old Jixy Pixy, right, in her flat. She took baths, left, with Jixy Pixy as well sharing meals at Wagamamas
Although missing her pig pal now he’s gone with the RSPCA, Ms Day said: ‘The sadness I am going through or the sadness the pig is going through at losing me is better than him being slaughtered’
Ms Day said that after making the mistake she decided it would be better for a more ‘experienced’ chameleon owner to take care of Daddy – and was re-homed with a new owner in New Hampshire this July.
‘I had people telling me my first pig would rather have been slaughtered than be with me, which is absolutely crazy,’ she said.
Commenters on Ms Day’s social media have been alleging that Daddy is dead, but Ms Day said there was absolutely no truth in these comments and the chameleon is ‘doing well’ in his new home.
Ms Day hit headlines recently after she was pictured taking baths with the her pig ‘Jixy Pixy’ – who she even took to Japanese chain Wagamama before her landlord found out.
She paid £30 to save the eight-week old animal after seeing him in an online advert by a farm which intended to sell him to another farm where he would have later been slaughtered.
Ms Day offered to take the pig instead and then spent £400 on a taxi to bring Jixy Pixy to London from Exeter, Devon.
On Monday her landlord found out about the pig and Ms Day, who has a masters graduate in international business, had to give him over to the RSPCA.
During their time together Ms Day took Jixy Pixy on trains, allowed him to walk off the lead on busy city streets and even took him to the park like a dog.
Ms Day said: ‘I can’t save them all but I thought I would save one. Anything for my baby.
‘I would go to the toilet and I would leave it outside and it would scream until I came back. At first when I tried to touch him he would jump back but within 30 minutes he started coming to me when I called him.’
Ms Day paid £400 to transport Jixy Pixy, left, from Devon to London after she saved him from being slaughtered. She would take the pig on the tube, right, and for walks with her
When the RSPCA arrived to take Jixy Pixy, pictured sleeping, away Ms Day said he ‘started screaming and trying to run away – he didn’t want to go’
The pair also ventured out onto the tube and Ms Day would walk Jixy Pixy in Ealing Broadway on a lead to the astonishment of onlookers.
Ms Day, who is originally from New York, said she now wants to explore animal rights activism.
The former carer stopped eating meat aged 12 before becoming a vegan this year.
She explained: ‘Since I was a child I thought pigs were really cute. I guess I realised that I’m an adult now and I don’t have to ask my parents permission – I can basically do what I want.’
Ms Day said that Jixy Pixy’s favourite things to do were sitting on her lap and taking baths.
But the relationship ended abruptly when the landlord told Alicia to leave the flat on November 4 – a week after she got the pig. It is thought he may have seen her social media posts detailing Jixy Pixy’s life in London.
She decided to give the pig to the RSPCA – but not before another trip to Wagamama.
Although the pair grew close, on Monday Ms Day’s landlord discovered she had a pet pig and told her they were barred from the flat so she had to give Jixy Pixy to the RSPCA
Ms Day hopes to teach people pigs are not ‘dirty disgusting animals’. Jixy Pixy, pictured while still with Ms Day, is now going to a sanctuary in Kent
When the RSPCA arrived to take Jixy Pixy away, Ms Day said he ‘started screaming and trying to run away – he didn’t want to go.’
Ms Day is now living in a hotel and is being supported financially by her sister in California, but she has no regrets about bringing the pig home.
She said: ‘The sadness I am going through or the sadness the pig is going through at losing me is better than him being slaughtered.
‘I am not going to buy more pigs because it will cause more problems with the RSPCA, which was not my intention.’
Ms Day hopes to teach people that pigs are not ‘dirty disgusting animals’ and that they can be affectionate and emotional.
Jixy Pixy is now being taken to a sanctuary in Kent and Ms Day said she hopes her efforts inspire people to eat less meat.
She said: ‘Even if people eat one less meal with meat then it will make a difference.’
The masters graduate said the pig, left and right, was ‘even easier to walk than a dog’ when they ventured out and would always get lots of attention
The RSPCA also criticised Ms Day for keeping a pig in a flat, with a spokesman for the animal charity saying: ‘We would advise anyone thinking of keeping a pig to consider whether they have the time, resources, commitment, knowledge and facilities to care for them.
‘Pigs require lots of land and specialist facilities and the average life span is between five and 10 years, although some can live up to 25 years.
‘We have concerns about the welfare of pigs when they’re kept as pets, due to how difficult it can be to meet their needs.
‘Pet pigs have specific needs and, like farmed pigs, there are strict laws concerning their diet, identification and movement as well as licences needed to keep them. It can be challenging to look after them properly.’
He added: ‘We were called by the owner for some help regarding this pig on Monday.
‘We collected the pig, with the owner’s consent, from an address in Ealing and he has now been moved under licence to more suitable accommodation prior to finding a permanent countryside home.’