Mission, B.C.'s 'Reptile Guy' charged with animal cruelty

A Mission, B.C., man has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly operating on a snake without proper sedation — or a veterinary licence.

Mike Hopcraft allegedly operated on a snake without properly sedating it

'Reptile Guy' Mike Hopcraft was charged with animal cruelty after allegedly operating on a blood python, like the one pictured above, without proper sedation. (Kijiji)

A Mission, B.C., man has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly operating on a snake without proper sedation — or a veterinary licence.

The B.C. SPCA says it was forwarded a video that showed Mike Hopcraft, the founder of Reptile Guy Rescue and Education Centre, performing a "veterinary procedure."

Marcie Moriarty, the chief prevention and enforcement officer for the B.C. SPCA, said the procedure depicted in the video could have been dangerous to the snake and did not appear to involve sedation.

"This snake would experience pain," Moriarty said. "This type of a procedure should be done by a veterinarian and there should be use of sedation or pain medication."

Hopcraft raided in 2015

The charges approved by Crown counsel include two counts of animal cruelty and one violation of the Veterinarians Act.

Hopcraft says he only learned of the charges when reached by a Canadian Press reporter on Tuesday.

He says he gave the blood python an enema but pain medication or sedatives are not necessary for such a procedure and that he spoke with a veterinarian who told him the snake wouldn't be in danger.

Hopcraft's Mission establishment was raided by the B.C. SPCA in 2015, which resulted in the seizure of 14 reptiles, 46 rats and six dead animals. He denied allegations of animal cruelty at the time.

Hopcraft is scheduled to appear in court on July 19 in Abbotsford.

With files from the Canadian Press.

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