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Dealer Loses Custody of 'Stock' Because of Cruel Treatment of Animals

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Posted January 5, 2010 by Marta Holmberg

Check out what PETA’s Karin Bennett has to say about PETA’s latest undercover investigation.

Marta

We’ve just received word that Arlington (Texas) Municipal Judge Michael Smith has divested Jasen and Vanessa Shaw—owners and operators of animal warehouse U.S. Global Exotics, Inc. (USGE)—of the more than 26,000 mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids who were seized from USGE on December 15. U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., is a major player in the pet trade. For years, the company has imported and exported hundreds of thousands of animals every year for eventual sale at major pet stores and pet store chains all over the world, including at U.S.-based PETCO and PetSmart.





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Warning: This video contains strong language.


A PETA undercover investigator spent seven months working at U.S. Global Exotics and documented horrifically cruel conditions for animals. On December 15, Arlington officials and humane agents rescued more than 26,000 animals, including wallabies, sloths, ringtail lemurs, kinkajous, coatimundis, agoutis, hedgehogs, chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, flying squirrels, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, prairie dogs, ferrets, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, spiders, crabs, and scorpions from this facility. This seizure is believed to be the largest animal confiscation in history.
Judge Smith’s decision to award custody of the animals to the city of Arlington comes on the heels of a seven-day hearing during which lawyers for the exotic-animal dealer tried every trick in the book to downplay Jasen and Vanessa Shaw’s failure to provide animals in their care with basic, minimal necessities such as food, water, and adequate housing. However, the evidence that our investigator meticulously documented while inside U.S. Global Exotics’ facility—as well as the evidence gathered on the day of the seizure—could not be refuted. Here is some of what we found:

  • A staff of only three or four people was tasked with providing care for tens of thousands of animals. Animals suffered greatly from cruel confinement in severely crowded and filthy containers, including soda bottles and milk jugs, litter pans, cattle-feeding troughs, and barren wire cages. Hundreds of animals were denied basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care.
  • Hundreds of sick, injured, and dying animals were put in a chest freezer to die. Some of them, including a squirrel whose neck had been severely lacerated and a chinchilla who was bleeding from a prolapsed rectum, survived for hours before succumbing.
  • Countless wild-caught animals were forced to make grueling journeys from their native habitats. They were subjected to deplorable, substandard conditions and care and were kept for days or weeks in pillowcases, shipping boxes, or soda bottles without food or water or even proper heat and humidity.
  • Exotic animals—some of whom were members of endangered species—were continually kept inside barren bins, wire bird cages, and dungeon-like metal troughs, sometimes for months or years. Many developed abnormal, stress-induced neurotic behaviors such as incessant pacing, frantic clawing, and fighting for space and food.
  • Hundreds of iguanas and other lizards who were never unpacked upon arrival perished inside mesh bags and “shipping cups”—and at least 12,000 turtles remained boxed up for weeks in the facility’s warehouse, deprived of food, water, light, and adequate ventilation. In one day, 657 turtles were recorded on the facility’s dead list.
  • On the day of the seizure, the decomposing, liquefying remains of more than 200 iguanas were extracted from bags containing almost as many live iguanas, all of whom had been crammed into wooden crates at USGE’s frigid warehouse and left without food or water for nearly two weeks in preparation for a shipment to Egypt.
  • Green tree frogs were kept for weeks on end at USGE in soda bottles that were sitting in a cardboard box in the facility’s washroom. No single person was assigned to their care, which meant that the animals went without food or water for weeks at a time. When it came time to ship the frogs, whose bodies are very small and delicate, some employees—including then-USGE supervisor Ari Flagle—violently shook the fragile animals out of the bottle and pulled them out by their legs—click here to watch video. Flagle is currently working with frogs, among other animals, at the Fort Worth Zoo under the supervision of Mike Doss, who testified on behalf of USGE.

While the animals at U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., have been rescued, millions of other animals in similar facilities are still suffering, and they will continue to suffer as long as people support companies such as U.S. Global Exotics by buying animals from pet stores such as PetSmart, PETCO, Petland, and others. Please share this information with everyone that you know and urge them never to buy any animals from stores and to always adopt from animal shelters and rescue groups.
-Karin

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  • 1911 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I’m so upset right now I can’t even think straight. I don’t understand. I just.. don’t understand. How do you treat a living creature so poorly? It makes me wonder.. would they do that to other humans? To their own children? I just don’t understand.

  • 1920 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    It is horrible. One should stop this

  • 1920 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Terrible. Absolutely terrible. How do things like this happen?

  • 1953 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Where were the USDA inspectors over the years?

  • 1964 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    This is just cruel; but we are back to the same old story here…
    people do whatever it takes for profit.

  • 1971 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    This is horrid! The suppliers and recieving companies such as “petno where the pets die,” have VERY messed up morals and have No decency whatsoever. To not care about animals, after all, they are people too – to treat them like trash – those humans should be jailed and never let out. I knew about the petco situation because i had a hand in trying to shut down a local branch store and had seen what they do but this footage just compounds everything. Animals have rights! They are equals to humans and deserve to be treated as so. “Slavery, abuse, and torture of live animals” should be this supplier’s business M.O. slogan.
    I havent bought from pet stores that sell pets in years, its slavery and cruel. I hope everyone out there can find a pet supply that doesnt sell pets – i buy from one that only sells food and equipment for them, not the actual animals. I’m going to go campaigning again in my area as far as public education about the Real face of pet stores. As far as the suppliers go, people should visit and write letters and petitions to get them out of business! Everybody counts, and if enough people get together, we can create change.

  • 1997 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Shame Petco is going to benefit from this
    Here is Petco’s press release
    http://about.petco.com/2010/02/dallas-adoptions/

  • 2005 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Absolutely sick, evil the World Protection For Snakes totally condemns this acts of neglect and animal cruelty against these snakes featured in this video and feels equally the same seeing other animals suffering unnecessarily like this.
    This is very distressing for myself to watch, people who enjoy causing ill treatment and pain to animals are diseased themselves and need putting out of there misery as they are inhumane.
    An animal like a the snake can not show facial features to us to express how they are feeling to that of a dog or a cat. All of them could of been suffering for months. This is a prime example why the WPFS operates, to help give the snake a voice as a friend not a foe.
    I will continue working towards a better safer and more respectibile world for all snakes as they do have a raw deal in life where humans are concerned as there biggest issue is provoked and unnecessary persuction, we need them and they need us.
    I hope the parties involved are tried and brought to account for countless cases on animal cruelty i will be following this story very closely.

  • 2008 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Running a nature center I always think it’s our duty as animal handlers to set the example of HOW to ethically keep animals. But the fight has been long and hard with those individuals that sell animals…seeing them as objects to be sold, not as the soul-bearing beings that I’ve gotten to know. This breaks my heart and makes me want to throw up!
    This guy should rot in hell!! BEtter yet…rot in one of his own animal cages!!! That would be poetic justice.

  • 2012 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    these people are disgusting and heartless!! They should rot in jail for what they do to poor helpless and innocent animals!!! And this is just documented their are plenty of shit heads that do this to animals!! I wish i didn’t live in a world where these things are done to animals…f**k animal abusers!

  • 2015 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    It is so sad to see these animals that God has entrusted us to care for being treated so poorly and inhumanely. As to the other posters wishing jail on those who mistreated these animals, I work in a County jail and I can tell you first hand that these inmates will receive three (3) meals a day (one of which must be hot), clean clothing and bedding exchanged once a week, at least three (3) hours out of their cells a week (and it is usually more), temperature controlled setting, free medical and dental care if the inmates are unable to afford it. And should we mistreat them in ANY way, well, they are awarded a nice paycheck for which they did nothing to earn it. That is what jail is. I do not put my faith in the justice system for a proper punishment for these people. God will punish these people approriately for what they have done.

  • 2015 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I hope everyone under stands this is not an isolated issue. There ore hundreds of these dealers/importers/distributors here in the US. They all rather much opperate the same way. I have visited a number of there places of business, Global is bad, but there are many others that may be far worse.
    Get the word out, close this industry down.

  • 2015 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Hey, ok we all agree this is terrable. The next step is to get our state and federal legestive people to ban the sale and importation of ALL wild caught animals in the US. This was done for birds in the early 1900’s, it obviously should include mammals, reptiles and amphibians too.
    You need to get this information into local news papers and other media outlets now. Do not let this story die. If you know government represenatives contact them and voice your concerns. The weak link in all this is shipping. Can we get UPS, FedFex, airlines, etc to ban shipping of wildlife. The answer is yes, but you need to pester them as to the ethics of what they are doing to contribite to this slimy business.

  • 2015 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I hope the owners rot in hell!

  • 2015 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    What on earth were the authorities doing regarding licensing and checking such a disgraceful organisation. The authorities, or lack of a law if licensing is not required, must shoulder a lot of the blame for this graveyard.

  • 2016 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    The real question is why Fort Worth Zoo is hiring these 2 a-holes?
    “Flagle is currently working with frogs, among other animals, at the Fort Worth Zoo under the supervision of Mike Doss, who testified on behalf of USGE.”

  • 2016 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    this is sickening! i despise these types of people with a passion. it’s so sad to see these animals suffer. i own three ferrets and i care for them and my dog very deeply. i would love to see someone try to treat them this way. i can garrantee they wouldnt do it again.

  • 2016 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Wildlife trade laws and exotic ownership laws in this state are much too lax and this will continue until the State steps up and makes changes

  • 2019 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I don’t know what to say… this slide show is unbelievable.
    I know I couldn’t stand there and watch it happen, why wouldn’t the employees stand up for the animals?

  • 2020 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    How horrific, but thank you for your continued compassion toward animals. I will continue to support your work and encourage all to NOT use animal based products or pet stores.

  • 2023 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Hope those people were stuffed in boxes and shipped off to JAIL!!!

  • 2024 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    How tragic. people can be so cruel and until people stop being so greedy and hungry for money and only looking at what they want and not on the huge effects all their choices do, this cruelty will never stop. I wish i could do something, to stop all this pain all these little animals are going through every single moment including right now. I am so relieved that this amount of animals were taken away even though it is such a tiny amount compared to what is going on still. If they are in unbearable pain, i hope they can rest soon. This is unfair and its just so sad to see how cruel human beings and life can be.

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    When disaster strikes the human world every one is horified. Genocide on the human race no no no. But in the animal world many seam to think it acceptable. Where the hell were these people brought up?

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    These people/companies need the treatment that were given to these beautiful animals. These people need the death penalty for such things as this!!!!

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    These people/companies need the treatment that were given to these beautiful animals. These people need the death penalty for such things as this!!!!

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I hate having to watch this horrible situation animals are put through. But then I think, if it bothers me to just have to watch it, imagine having to live through it. It’s completely unimaginable and I pray to God that people of this horrible world can one day come to their senses and realize that animals have feelings also! :(

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    This is really disgusting these animals need to be fed EVERYDAY not once a week. They can’t survive it.
    Poor Wallabies :(
    This ba***rd should be jailed forever .

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I’m with McKenna–I could not stop crying while reading this article & especially looking at the pics. I cannot believe that some people are capable of doing something like this while there are others (like me) who could never even hurt a fly. I hope these monsters spend the rest of their lives in jail.
    People can say what they will about PETA, but they truly make a difference and for that I am so thankful.

  • Pia

    2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    To the Peta Undercover investigator, what an amazing job you did to help these animals and expose what these barbaric people were doing or rather not doing i should say… Thank you.

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I wish people that torture animals would get the same thing done to them as they do to the animals. that would maybe teach them a lesson!

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Hard to believe people do this to make a buck. They should all be charged hefty fines or jailed. This makes me very sad indeed however I will never give up MY PERSONAL fight against these kinds of people..

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    These people are sick and should never be allowed near a living creature again. Hopefully all those involved will be met with a similar fate – they deserve no better. Hoping all the species saved get a second chance of a better life.

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I think the owners and workers should be treated just like they treated the animals. No food, water, heat, left in a crowded too small cage or cardboard box. Sending people to jail is really too good for them.

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    They should have been jailed for years for what they have allowed to happen to these poor creatures!

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I just want to throw up after reading this…people are so wrong in the head for doing the things they do to animals! Besides not ever going to a pet store again…I want to know what else I can do!

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    i think these people are so fucking mean and should go to jail for doing this to all these animals..

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    This is such a sick world. I keep remembering that people who can hurt animals have no problem doing the same thing to people–these people have no empathy in their hearts for others’ pain. Animals have no way of telling anyone about someone being cruel to them or how much pain they are in. Please be a voice for them if you ever see any kind of cruelty going on–report it immediately. And God bless you for doing so.

  • 2025 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Those are not living conditions, they are dying conditions. I would not keep a single animal in the containers that were shown to house many. Animals are living beings not products. They require food, water, and freedom of movement. Companionship is also very important but that’s completely different than overcrowding in extreme confinement. The immoral things people do for money is disgusting.

  • 2029 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I think I’m going to puke.

  • 2032 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I cried when i read this and saw the pictures…i hope that i never set foot in petco or petsmart again

  • 2033 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Soda bottles? Who the hell keeps animals in soda bottles? What were they thinking??
    As long as our fellow animals are thought of and treated as disposable items to be exploited, stored like cargo and sold for money, this cruelty will continue.
    I will never, ever buy a single animal or animal-based product again as long as I live, and I will continue to tell everyone at every chance I get why they should not either.
    Thanks for this great story. Spread the word, everyone!

  • 2033 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    This case absolutely disgusts me. I first read about it in December and I was shocked at the amount of animals that were in this horrible situtation. I mean 20,000??? Really? That’s insane! As an exotic rescuer, this makes me sick to my stomach.
    I am SO glad that the animals have been rescued, and I hope they find good homes with responsible exotic handlers or sanctuaries.

  • 2033 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    this is disgusting and so are those people. how could the company think they’d even stand a chance against these photos?

  • 2033 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    It’s always hard to explain to people that buying animals from pet stores isn’t “rescuing them” as it just means more cruelty like this occurs due to them showing there’s a demand.

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