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Local teen dedicates time to saving reptiles

One local teen is dedicating her time to saving reptiles such as snakes and lizards.

“If cats and dogs need help, then why can’t reptiles,” Alicia Kelly said.

Alicia first fell in love with snakes when she was eight years old. After seeing a friend’s rescued reptile, she decided to someday start her own nonprofit.

“I do most of the cleaning, feeding and all of that,” Alicia said. “I am a big part of the foster system.”

She, her mother and some friends started “Saving Scales” two years ago. It’s a nonprofit organization that takes in sick or abandoned reptiles and rehabilitates them. It’s grown so much that now shelters and pet stores go to them when they have a reptile who needs care.

“First, we take them in,” Alicia said. “If they need to go to the vet we get them into the vet as soon as possible. We get them treated for whatever they have and then we start with, and then we quarantine them for two weeks so that if there is any illnesses or parasites they show before they go into an adopter.”

Alicia loves a group of pets that many cast aside. She says reptiles makes just as good of pets as cats and dogs.

“They can be trained,” she said. “They show the same amount of affection. When people say they don’t have a personality, they do.”

In order to make time for the organization, Alicia attends the Idaho Virtual Academy, an online school for students who can’t stick to a strict school schedule. Her mother says their nonprofit survives by people like Alicia who take care of the animals.

“I think she’s amazing,” Cassandra Christian, Alicia’s mom, said. “I don’t know too many people her age who are so committed to the welfare of other people and other animals and just their pets. She is, she’s my light, she’s my hero.”

For Alicia, saving these reptiles gives her great joy.

“It’s so rewarding to see these animals get healthy, be happy and get into new homes,” she said.

The organization takes in all kinds of reptiles from snakes to bearded dragons to even a blue-tongued skink.

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