Pet stores want you to think about how cute the animals in the cages are—they don’t want you to know that for every cute animal on display, there are often thousands suffering and dying horribly behind the scenes in the pet trade.
For more than two months in late 2012, a PETA investigator worked undercover at Global Captive Breeders, a company that bred and sold reptiles and rats in Lake Elsinore, California. PETA’s investigator documented that some of the company’s workers, including its manager—and generally with the full knowledge of its owner, Mitch Behm—neglected thousands of animals, many of them to the point of death, and cruelly killed countless more.
Based on PETA’s evidence, law-enforcement officials entered GCB on December 12 and mounted the largest rescue of neglected rats in U.S. history and the largest seizure of animals ever in California. All the animals—more than 600 reptiles and 18,000 rats—were relinquished by Behm into the city’s custody, and a criminal investigation is underway.
The facility, which reeked of death, decay, and ammonia from accumulated urine and feces, typically housed up thousands of adult rats and hundreds of reptiles, including snakes, monitor lizards, skinks, tokay geckos, and sulcata tortoises, with just two full-time staffers and one part-time helper as mid-December.
Most of the thousands of rats who were kept at GCB were what the pet-trade industry refers to as “feeder” animals―bred and sold to be fed to snakes and other captive carnivorous reptiles kept as “pets.” Because of the facility’s chronic failure to provide animals with even their most basic requirements, the rats were not only doomed to die terrifying, painful deaths inside GCB’s walls but also born into and kept in filth and misery throughout their entire lives.
Snakes, skinks, monitor lizards, and other reptiles at GCB were essentially left to die; they were so neglected that in many cases, even their deaths went unnoticed by management for days
NEVER shop at a store that sells animals and share this investigation with everyone you know.
PETA has turned over detailed evidence of cruelty to animals at GCB to Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach’s office. Please sign the petition below to urge Zellerbach to file criminal charges against all appropriate parties.