Charges of animal cruelty against Mission’s Mike Hopcraft, the Reptile Guy, have been stayed. / File Photo

Animal cruelty charges against the Reptile Guy have been dropped

Mission’s Mike Hopcraft says emotional toll has been difficult on him and his family

Charges against Mission’s Mike Hopcraft – better known as The Reptile Guy – have been dropped.

In July of 2018, Crown counsel had approved two counts of animal cruelty charges and one count of violating the Veterinarians Act against Hopcraft, following a BC SPCA investigation.

The charges were the result of a video, which the SPCA said showed Hopcraft performing a veterinary procedure on a friend’s blood python without the use of sedation or pain medication.

At that time Hopcraft proclaimed his innocence and in a press release sent by his lawyer, it was explained the video was posted on Hopcraft’s Wild Education Facebook page showing him relieving a blood python of a bowel obstruction.

Hopcraft also received a letter of support from a prominent local veterinarian.

In a written response to Black Press, a spokesman for the BC Prosecution Service confirmed that the charges against Hopcraft had been stayed. He wrote “The prosecutor with conduct of the file received further information and concluded, after reviewing the new information and the existing file materials that the charge assessment standard was no longer met. We do not anticipate proceeding with any other charges in relation to this matter.”

Hopcraft announced the fact that the charges have been dropped, on his Facebook page.

“Now that the charges have been officially dropped I will try to recover and rebuild but it is going to be a long process as the court of public opinion is very hard to get past,” Hopcraft wrote.

“Unfortunately, the BCSPCA’s public announcement and media coverage following the charges (some stating that we performed a surgery without pain meds) resulted in me losing countless presentations, thousands of dollars that I needed to care for my animals and getting evicted from my facility.”

Hopcraft also wrote that after the charges were filed, he received several hurtful emails and messages, some suggesting he should die.

“As you can imagine, the emotional toll this had on myself, my daughter and my family has been very difficult as we work so hard to build a solid education program as well as a safe place for unwanted reptiles to go.”

He is planning to organize a fundraiser some time in the future.

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