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Old 11-18-2011, 02:55 PM   #1
Thumbs down Reptile Addicts / Fred Kick

Here is my horrible experience with Fred Kick and his company, Reptile Addicts. First you will read my journal-like account of my experience, and below it I have copied the e-mails through which the "breeder" and I corresponded.

My Experience

October 15, 2011
Attended the Hamburg, PA, reptile expo and bought a 1yr old female rosy boa from Fred Kick's company, Reptile Addicts. I was reassured that she was healthy, eating well, and in great conditions.

October 31, 2011
Ever since, the boa started exhibiting strange signs, such as striking & missing, refusing meals, turning her head upside down, coiling backwards upside down, no "righting" herself if she was turned over, and stargazing. I'd been e-mailing back and forth with the breeder, who didn't seem to be too concerned about it. I decided to google the breeder and look on Fauna Classifieds, and I find out that I'm far from being the only one with bad experiences with this breeder. Turns out he has sold a whole bunch of people sick snakes with similar problems or diseases. It hadn't occurred to me that a breeder with such a bad rep would be at a big expo like the one I was at. His snakes looked fine when I was there. So out of concern for the snake, I decided I'd take her to the vet this afternoon to have her checked out. When I told the breeder that I was going to take her to the vet, he told me it probably wasn't necessary. When I told the breeder the symptoms the snake was experiencing, he said that I was stressing her out and that she just needed more time to settle. I haven't handled her since I got her, she's in a quiet room, her set up is perfect (right temps, low humidity, etc), and the only time I opened the cage was to attempt to feed. By the way she was acting, it seemed like something more than just "stress" was going on.
So I took her to the vet, because I care about the animal and it seemed like she was in need of medical attention. I made the long drive out and took her to the see a reptile vet. The vet determined that she had about 8 layers of eye caps retained. EIGHT! He managed to get some off, but not all of them. Her nostrils were equally as covered and stuck. He thinks this might have been the reason she was striking and missing her prey (because she couldn't see or smell it right). He also determined that she has a lot of parasites in her system (he did a fecal test etc). He performed a series of tests to see how she would respond if flipped upside down, on the side, and in other positions, to check for neurological symptoms. She passed some of those "tests", but failed some as well. He concluded that she does have some sort of neurological problem, but that he's not able to say what is causing them as of right now. He gave her a dose of antibiotics, and gave me a few instructions of what to do this week to make sure she's well. I'm taking her back on Friday to do a check up and try feeding her. She's also lost weight (15g) since I got her 2 weeks ago.
For obvious reasons, I will not be giving this snake to my cousin. She is not equipped to handle a snake that is not 100% healthy (and she's quite disheartened as you can imagine). I'm going to give the snake the care I can while she is with me, but I'm hoping the breeder will take her back and give me a refund. As of right now I have her quarantined in order to protect my other snakes. It goes without saying that I'm quite disappointed. Such bad luck...

November 7th, 2011:
I took the rosy boa to yet another vet appointment this past Friday November 4th for a follow up check up.

Eye Caps
She still has more retained eye caps. The vet managed to pull FOUR retained eye caps off of EACH EYE during the visit. He taped them to the receipt for proof. Despite the removal of those eye caps, she still had more on her that he didn't want to forcefully pull off.

Neurological Symptoms
She is still displaying neurological symptoms. Over the week she gave me a few scares where I found her upside down and barely moving. She is still turning her head upside down and stargazing. She is not very reactive or alert, and the times she does strike she misses completely, often striking in the opposite direction of the provocation. As of right now, the vet has not been able to establish whether or not she has Inclusion Body Disease (IBD) or if it is the parasites that have reached her brain and are causing her to have neurological symptoms.

She has lost more weight since the last visit. Despite having gotten all of the shed off of her nostrils, she was completely disinterested in food. The vet wants to force-feed her at the next visit because he is worried about her continued weight loss. The vet is not sure whether or not she will ever return to feeding on her own as of right now. I am still debating whether or not it is worthwhile to keep this snake alive forcefully if she does not improve.

The Breeder's Response
I have maintained in contact with the breeder, e-mailing him every detail about all the vet visits and the condition of the snake. In his latest e-mail (which I received this morning), he demanded I e-mail him copies of the vet records since he wasn't taking my word about the condition of his snake. He continues to insist that she was a captive-bred snake and it is "not possible" that she have the parasites the vet found in her.
I kindly brought up the idea of a refund. His first response was that he'd be willing to give me "credit" "depending on the condition of the snake" (not sure what that means). I told him I wouldn't want "credit" since I wouldn't be interested in getting another snake for at least 6 months to protect the snakes already in my collection. I asked him again if he would be willing to give me a refund instead. I have not heard back from him about the refund yet.

What's next
I will be taking her back to the vet, hopefully soon, for yet another check-up. The vet will probably check her again for parasites, weigh her, check her responses for neurological symptoms (whether they are improving or worsening), he might force-feed her depending on the prognosis, and we'll go from there.

Financial Costs
The actual snake- $100
1st vet visit- $65
2nd vet visit- $50
Food that has been refused- $15
Gas- $20 so far
Time spent worrying- priceless
Total as of Nov 7, 2011: $250

November 14, 2011
Things have not gotten any better. The rosy boa is still displaying all the same neurological symptoms, and is still refusing to eat. I will be taking her to the vet (again!) for another check up, and to determine if it might be better to euthanise. I e-mailed the breeder 2 weeks ago with scanned copies of the vet records and he hasn't gotten back to me yet. I e-mailed him again today kindly reminding him to stay in touch, updating him on the status of the snake, asking for a refund (again, since he's avoiding the topic), and letting him know that if he doesn't want to settle this one-on-one I will be filing a small claims court case. We'll see what happens. I told him I'd give him a week to get back to me and that I'd let him know what comes out of the vet visit this week.

November 17, 2011

I spoke to the vet and tomorrow at 11:45am I have an appointment for the rosy boa to be euthanized. Despite all of our attempts to rehabilitate her or make her quality of life better, she has only gotten worse. It has been horrible to watch this snake deteriorate. She continues to star-gaze, coil upside down, and two days ago she had what I think was a seizure. I have occasionally found her completely upside down (which as you ca imagine, has totally scared me). She has refused to eat anything, and the few defensive strikes she has given me over the course of time have been total off (ie: my had would be in front of her but she would strike in the opposite direction).

Tomorrow's going to be a hard day. I've never had to put any of my animals down before... Even though I'm not attached to her emotionally or anything, I'm still angry that this "breeder" gave her to me in such poor conditions, and that he refuses to take any responsibility. I will be filing a case in small claims court after all is done. Tomorrow the vet and I will discuss whether or not it is necessary to do post-mortem tests.

November 18, 2011

I took the rosy boa to the vet this morning and she was euthanized. Since Wednesday she had been having seizures, and when I took her to the vet this morning her eyes were going in different directions. The vet and I both agreed that euthanasia would be the best course of action for the snake.

I continue to be in touch with the breeder, who has refused to refund me, claims I'm "lying", claims he hasn't gotten all my e-mails, and who continues to deny responsibility. I have already let him know that I will be filing a claim at small claims court. He continues to insist I "give her back".

Watching this poor snake deteriorate in front of me, and having to finally euthanize her has been horrible and heart-breaking.

Financial Costs
The actual snake- $100
1st vet visit- $65
2nd vet visit- $50
3rd vet visit- $50
Food that has been refused- $20
Gas- $30
Post-Mortem tests- $300
Time spent worrying- priceless
Total as of Nov 18, 2011: $615

The E-mails

October 22, 2011. My first e-mail to Fred Kick.
Hi, I hope this e-mail finds you well. I bought an adult female rosy boa from you at the Oct.15 Hamburg PA reptile expo. She has already shed, but has refused to eat. I was informed that she has been fed on f/t pinkies her whole life. This is what I've been trying to feed her. Her enclosure has the right temperatures and set up, complete with aspen bedding, two hides, and a small water dish. I have tried leaving the pinkie with her overnight. She took it, but then left it and never ate it. I would appreciate some advice. On a similar note, if she doesn't eat, I was wondering if you had other rosy boas to exchange her for that are eating more readily. Thanks!
Alessia Bachrach

No response from the breeder.

October 24, 2011
I try again:

Hi, I hope this e-mail finds you well. I bought an adult female rosy boa from you at the Oct.15 Hamburg PA reptile expo. She has already shed, but has refused to eat. She strikes but misses the prey completely. I tried leaving it with her overnight, but she did not eat. She is also not turning over properly when she is placed upside down. I was informed that she has been fed on f/t pinkies her whole life. This is what I've been trying to feed her. Her enclosure has the right temperatures and set up, complete with aspen bedding, two hides, and a small water dish. I am concerned about her not eating, and that I wasn't told if the snake has some sort of a neurological disorder that is affecting her. I would appreciate some advice. On a similar note, if she doesn't eat and doesn't improve, I was wondering if you had other rosy boas to exchange her for that are eating more readily. Thanks!
Alessia Bachrach

October 24, 2011. Fred Kick responds:
I would try live hoppers, they have to have fur on them. That is what she was eating for us.The one you bought was a great eater.
Why are you placing her upside down? She is probably playing dead. Some snakes will do that when placed upside down. There is no proper way to turn themselves over, some rush back and others take their time. I strongly recommend the book by TFH on Rosy Boas. It has a lot of knowledgeable information.

October 24, 2011. I respond immediately:
Thanks for getting back to me! About feeding her a live hopper though... From all the other rosy boas in the expo, I bought the one from you guys *specifically* because I was told she ate frozen/thawed prey, NOT live. I asked this several times to make sure it was the case. Getting live prey is a hassle (about a 30min drive each way), and I only have this one snake, so I don't want to be breeding or keeping mice or anything like that. I'm not sure what to do now since I was very much under the impression that she was feeding on frozen/thawed... The person I talked to about it was a slightly older woman with long, grey-ish hair, if that matters. Do you have any rosy boas that ARE feeding on frozen/thawed that we could exchange her for? I'm not sure what's the best course of action here.

October 25, 2011. Fred Kick responds:
We keep our snakes on f/t at our facility. Sometimes the transition to a new home is a little stressful on them. Sometimes you need to prompt them to start eating again with one or two live food items and then they will go back on eating f/t. I would try f/t hopper mice if live is not an option. Pinkies are a little too small, and they like their food to have fur on it. The fur makes the animal smell, and they sense their food items by smell and heat.

October 28, 2011. I write:
As per your suggestion, I went out and bought an appropriately sized live hopper mouse today. She has refused to eat. What I noticed when I opened her cage to offer her the food, though, is that she would turn her head upside down. It's very bizarre. This is not my first snake, and what from what I've read and learned, this is not typical behavior. My other snakes never willingly turn their heads upside down. Most breeders have a 2-week policy about returning snakes for refund or exchange, which is why I wanted to stay in touch and e-mail you now. Her enclosure is set up properly, with the right temperatures and all, in an area with no traffic, and I have left her alone completely to settle in. I will give you a call tomorrow to talk. Please confirm the phone number: (716)310-3272
Alessia Bachrach

October 29, 2011. No response from Fred Kick. I try again:
I haven't heard back from you and I'm still concerned about the odd behavior of the rosy boa I purchased at the Hamburg PA expo on October 15th. I will be calling a well-known reptile vet on Monday to make an appointment to have her checked out. Please respond to this e-mail so I know you are getting these messages. I hope that if there is a problem, that we can come to a resolution.
Alessia Bachrach

October 30, 2011. Fred Kick responds:
Sorry I do not check my emails every day, what temps are you keeping her at? Is she turning over when she is left alone, or is she doing it when you approach her or try to offer food? Sometimes they try to hide when they want to be left alone. Are you handling her? You said earlier you were turning her upside down, I suggest you leave her alone for a week and let her settle in. You might be stressing her and therefor she is not wanting to eat for you and trying to hide from you. Changing from one home to another is stressful on them already, its best to let her slowly adjust to her new home.

October 30, 2011. I respond:
She is turning over even when left alone, but also when I try to offer food. I have not handled her at all since I got her. The one time I turned her over was when I'd started to notice the odd behavior, and I wanted to see if she would "right" herself, but she did not. As I said earlier, she is also moving her head upside down. I have left her alone the past two weeks without handling, and she is in a quiet room. I will be making an appointment with a good reptile vet tomorrow because I care about the snake and want to make sure nothing serious is going on, to make sure she is healthy and well, for her sake.
Thanks for keeping in touch
Alessia Bachrach

October 31, 2011. Fred did not respond. I follow up:
Hi Fred
I took the rosy boa to a reptile vet today. She had at least eight layers of retained shed on her eyes and nostrils. The vet managed to remove some, but some retained shed is still there. He also performed a fecal exam and she has a lot more parasites in her body than what is deemed healthy. He also determined that she does have some neurological symptoms, though the cause of it could not be determined at the time. She has also lost 9g in weight since I received her since she has refused to eat. I am taking her back to the vet on Friday for a check up.
Because of these issues, I was wondering if you'd be willing to take her back and supply a refund for the inconvenience. It might not have been your intention to sell me a sick snake, but that is the reality, and (rightfully so) I'm quite disheartened. I really hope we can come to a mutually agreeable resolution. I, personally, am not equipped to handle the hardship or the cost of a less than healthy snake. I am not an expert, and I do not know the whole history of the snake. I hope you can help me out by taking her back, since she should be in more capable hands.
Alessia Bachrach

November 2, 2011. Fred writes back:
You can bring her back to Hamburg and I can give you some type of credit depending on her conditions. All living things have some type of parasite to help support their well being, with out any parasites they would die. She was a captive breed healthy animal that was fat and happy, and eating well here. I cannot guarantee what your conditions are, seeing that you never answered my questions on her habitat. If she is retaining shed, she probably is being kept too dry. Everything sold as shows is as is, if you bring her back we offer some type of credit, but we have to look at her first.

November 2, 2011. My response:
Hi Fred
Looking through all the e-mail exchanges we've had, you have not actually ever asked me about her habitat. However, in my first e-mail I told you about her enclosure. She has two hides, a shallow dish of water, some plastic leaves that provide more privacy for her to go between hides, she's now on paper towels as a substrate (as per the vet's recommendation) and a heat mat that's on thermostat. Her warm side is around 83-85F, and her cool side is around 73-75, as per every care sheet I've ever seen about rosy boas. I read and researched rosy boas extensively before buying one.
I understand that some animals may have a healthy amount of parasites, but the vet determined that her body was bombarded with parasites; Far more parasites than he would ever consider "healthy" for a snake.
As per her retained shed, her enclosure is not too dry. The humidity is around 40-50%. Furthermore, it was not that she had ONE retained shed on her eyes... She had at least EIGHT retained sheds on her face and eyes. This is not the matter of one retained shed while she is in my care; This is a result of many retained sheds on her face over the course of her life.
I would prefer to receive a refund, not "credit" for another animal. After this experience, I will not be buying another snake for the next 6 months to ensure the safety of my own snakes. Thanks for understanding!
Alessia Bachrach

November 6, 2011. Fred writes back:
Forward us the vet paper work, I would love to see it. She is a captive bred animal and I am having a hard time believing she has any life threatening parasites. Of coarse she has some parasites, if she was parasite free she would be dead.

November 7, 2011. I forward Fred the vet paper work.
Hi Fred
Attached you'll find the vet records. I hope you can read them fine; They were originally printed on yellow paper so it was hard to scan. I was able to read them fine on my computer if I upped the contrast on the screen. On one of them, he taped her retained eye caps. Upon arranging for a refund I would be happy to bring you physical copies of these records too. The vet reassures me that her problems are from before I acquired her, especially the multiple retained eye caps. She refused another meal, so I will be taking her back to the vet sometime this week.
I'm doing my best for the sake of the animal- I've now paid $100 at the expo, $65 at the first vet visit, $49 at the second vet visit, and I'll be paying for whatever she needs. But it would be really kind if you could refund me the $100 I paid for her, since she was not in good conditions when I got her. This is typically common courtesy on behalf of the breeder.
Alessia Bachrach

November 14, 2011. No response from Fred. I e-mail again:
Hi Fred,
Have you read the last e-mail I sent you with the scanned copies of the vet records? It's been almost 2 weeks (correction: It had only been 1 week) and I haven't heard back from you. The rosy boa has refused another two meals, so I will be taking her back to the vet again this week for another check up. She is still displaying neurological symptoms such as star gazing, coiling upside down, and missing when she strikes. The vet and I will determine if it is better for the snake to be euthanised as per her condition since she has not improved and we don't want her to suffer. I will send you a copy of the vet visit after it has taken place. As I've said before, I really hope we can come to a mutually agreeable resolution. I have asked you for a $100 refund which is the original cost of the snake, despite the additional $150 I've spent so far taking care of her since I got her. I really care about the animals I keep, and have been doing everything possible for her. Despite the time, effort, worry, and financial cost, I am only asking you refund me the original $100. This is what I would expect form a breeder who wishes to have good seller-buyer relationships. I hope you will get in touch with me soon. If I do not hear from you within the next week, I will begin taking actions to file a small claims court case about the situation to have it remedied in a more formal setting, in which I'd hope all of the money I have spent caring for this snake will be refunded. I am giving you the chance to take the "easy" way and just refund me the minimal $100 I feel I deserve for all this inconvenience.
I hope to hear from you soon,
Alessia Bachrach

November 18, 2011
I never received your vet paperwork. Have you tried any other food item than f/t pinkies yet? It was a fat healthy snake when you purchased it. She was not a baby, so she was eating something, what ever you are trying can't be what she likes. If I do not receive any vet work from you I will ignore all future contact about this situation. I have offered you credit multiple times for her if you bring her back.

November 18, 2011
Hi Fred,
I just got back from the last vet visit. Since Wednesday, the rosy boa had been having seizures. When I took her to the vet today, her eyes were going in two different directions. The vet and I both concluded and agreed that the best action would be to euthanize her. That is what we did today. It was definitely what was in the best interest for the snake.
I'm sorry to hear you did not receive my previous e-mail with the scanned copies of the vet records. You will find a copy of that e-mail below, along with it's time stamp which shows that I did send it to you. I am attaching to this e-mail the same scanned copies from previous vet visits, as well as the one from today's vet visit. The body of the rosy boa will be sent for post-mortem tests to identify what caused her deterioration.
Please confirm that you have received this e-mail and the attachments.
Alessia Bachrach

What's Next
I will be filing a case at my local small claims court to get things settled in a more formal scenario. I will also wait for the results of the post-mortem tests to come back. I will update this page when I have any results from either. I will be calling the organizers of the Hamburg, PA reptile expo to tell them about my unfortunate situation, and hopefully they will be able to keep Fred Kick and his animals away from these expos. If I figure out how to post the copies of the vet paper work on here, I will.

Please stay away from Fred Kick. He is inconsistent, irresponsible, and has done nothing to remedy my situation. Please make sure you research each and every breeder you buy from. Do not assume that because they are at a big, fancy reptile expo, that they are responsible or reputable. I hope this can help someone avoid a situation like the one I'm in. Thanks for reading.

-Alessia Bachrach
Old 11-18-2011, 03:34 PM   #3
Four eyecaps removed and there were still more? Is this possible? I have to say i am skeptical. Maybe I am wrong. But then again what did a snake with 4+ retained eyecaps on it look like when you purchased it?
Old 11-18-2011, 03:36 PM   #4
Im sorry I meant 8+ retained eyecaps!
Old 11-18-2011, 03:42 PM   #5
whats going on here?
Old 11-18-2011, 03:44 PM   #6
Im sorry, mixed up reptile addicts and reptile kingdom. i guess im the schizophrenic one. oops!
Old 11-19-2011, 02:00 PM   #7
Amelanistic Orca
What a flake! I wouldn't trust these fools with a cup superworms! Probably slip em in the fridge when you ain't lookin'. Rosy's are so simple. I can not believe some of these peeps are operating with impunity on the net and using frontmen since they dumped where they sleep. If I had a dime for every time I saw a supposed big breeder drop the baton......... You did the right thing; kudos to you for knucklin' up when the going got rough! It stinks to lose an animal; especially dropping C-notes along the way... Kudos!!!
Old 11-19-2011, 10:22 PM   #8
Mike Schultz
Maybe Im missing something but why did you buy a snake that had 8 retained eyecaps? Did you look at the animal you were buying? That thing probably looked like a hammerhead shark with all those eyecaps

Mike schultz
Old 11-19-2011, 10:47 PM   #9
When I bought her, it did look like she had a eye cap (or two) retained but, at the time, it didn't look as bad as it turned out to be. My boyfriend who was with me at the time I bought her, also didn't think it was much else. I asked the breeder I bought her from about it, and was reassured she had just had a stressful shed and that it would come off at the next shed. Eye caps are extremely thin, and I was surprised as you all are when the vet started pulling them off. Sigh
Old 11-19-2011, 11:24 PM   #10
Originally Posted by bwt501 View Post
Im sorry I meant 8+ retained eyecaps!
I know NOTHING about Rosy Boa's but I do know that on Ben Siegel's FB in one of his photo albums he has/had(?) a picture with with I believe it was 20 some eye caps! Again, I do not know what type of snake it was OR where the picture is exactly. (I looked but couldn't find it right now, he has a LOT of pictures)

It was something like "guess what is in this picture for $5 auction bucks".

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