British Columbia

Cruelty charges dropped against 'Reptile Guy' who gave snake an enema

Mike Hopcraft was originally accused of operating on a snake without properly sedating it.

Mike Hopcraft originally accused of operating on 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)

Animal cruelty charges have been dropped against a Mission, B.C., man who was accused of giving a snake an enema without proper sedation — or a veterinary licence.

Mike Hopcraft, founder of Reptile Guy Rescue and Education Centre, was charged over the summer after video of the procedure was sent to the B.C. SPCA.

Two charges of animal cruelty and one charge of operating without a vet's licence were dropped on Wednesday.

On Friday, Hopcraft said he had "mixed" emotions: happy the prosecution is over, but struggling with what to do next.

"It's good news, obviously, the charges are dropped, but everything we've lost because of this," he said.

"Our reputation was basically destroyed ... it's almost irreversible. It's going to be hard to build back up what we had before."

Mike Hopcraft said his business is on the rocks after raids and cruelty accusations against him. (Mike Hopcroft/The Reptile Guy)

Birthday parties, school presentations

At one time, Hopcraft had more than 300 reptiles — including lizards and snakes — at his rescue centre. He said he worked to rehabilitate animals that others had grown tired of or had mistreated.

He also hosted birthday parties and made class presentations.

Hopcraft said he was evicted from his building and lost thousands in income after charges were laid.

He said he gave the blood python and enema to help with a bowel obstruction. Hopcroft said pain medication or sedatives wouldn't have been necessary and that he spoke with a veterinarian beforehand, who told him the snake wouldn't be in danger.

The B.C. Prosecution Service said the charges were dropped after the Crown received new information from investigators, but a statement didn't give specifics.

Mike Hopcraft said he no longer hosts birthday parties and class presentations. (Mike Hopcroft/The Reptile Guy)

Hopcraft raided in 2015

Previously, the B.C. SPCA raided Hopcraft's establishment in 2015, resulting in the seizure of 14 reptiles, 46 rats and six dead animals.

The SPCA said the animals were suffering from dehydration, lack of access to water, lack of UV lighting where appropriate, inadequate space and untreated medical conditions, among other problems.

Hopcraft denied allegations of animal cruelty at the time, but said the raid made him consider shutting down.

With files from Yvette Brend

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