Mike Hopcraft says he may be “giving up.”
Hopcraft, better known as the Reptile Guy, left that message on his company’s Facebook page as part of a long post to his supporters.
In it, he discusses his ongoing dispute with the BCSPCA, which seized 14 reptiles and 44 rats from his downtown Mission facility at the beginning of December.
Hopcraft had planned to appeal but has now decided to forgo the appeal process and let the SPCA keep the animals.
In his post, he said the appeal process was begun but a few weeks later he received “a bill for vet care and boarding fees that had already grown to over $10,000.”
He wrote that he would have to pay those costs, even if he won the appeal, and he cannot afford it at this time.
“We had no choice but to surrender the seized animals to the SPCA and they said that if we did so, the bill may go away,” he wrote.
The Record approached Hopcraft for an interview, but was told he would not be speaking to any media at this time.
While he has dropped the appeal, Hopcraft is still dealing with other SPCA concerns.
According to the Facebook post, Hopcraft received an email from the SPCA on Dec. 22 informing him there are concerns about the animals in his facility not having heat after-hours and overnight. The email also contained two orders for him to have every reptile inspected by a certified veterinarian for parasites and every rat checked for respiratory disease.
He wrote he was given until Jan. 3 to comply.
“This is just another unnecessary expense that I have no choice but to take on or we risk losing everything. Keep in mind, there are around 300 animals not including the rats.”
If he does not comply, more animals could be seized.
“I say this with a very heavy heart, but I can’t do this anymore. The stress has now taken the fun out of this job. I am now beginning to think about either trying to sell the business as a whole so that someone better suited may take over and continue our work, or try to find good homes for all of the animals and take a very long break.”
He is hoping the public will donate to his cause to keep the facility open.
The BCSPCA has yet to respond to recent inquiries by The Record.
Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer at the BCSPCA, is handling media requests regarding this case; however, she is away until Jan. 4.