Update: Mitch Behm, the owner of Global Captive Breeders, LLC (GCB), and David Delgado, the facility’s former manager, pleaded guilty to and were convicted of cruelty to animals in Riverside County Superior Court of California. Behm pleaded guilty to a dozen counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and was sentenced to five years of formal probation. He also must pay more than $190,000 in restitution to PETA and the City of Lake Elsinore for costs associated with the investigation and the rescue of more than 16,000 suffering animals from the facility. Behm is prohibited from entering into any business venture involving animals and from acquiring any animals. Delgado pleaded guilty to a dozen felony counts of cruelty to animals and was sentenced to 180 days in the sheriff’s custody and five years of formal probation. Delgado must also complete 250 hours of community service in a program that does not involve animals and is prohibited from acquiring animals. While nothing can undo the horrific suffering that thousands of rats and reptiles endured at GCB, the provisions of Behm’s and Delgado’s sentencing will help ensure that no future victims will suffer at their hands.

Originally posted July 22, 2013:

Remember PETA’s recent undercover investigation into Global Captive Breeders, LLC (GCB)? It revealed appalling abuse and neglect of nearly 16,000 rats and 600 reptiles. We have good news: Owner Mitch Behm and former manager David Delgado have been arrested and charged with a total of 223 felony cruelty-to-animals charges!

  PETA’s investigation into this rat and reptile breeder and dealer revealed:

  • Routine, severe neglect, including hundreds of rats who drowned because of a faulty watering system
  • Rats and reptiles who were crowded into waste- and ammonia-filled enclosures
  • Reptiles who were left to waste away slowly over the course of weeks as a result of systemic deprivation
  • Mother rats who were confined to bins so small that they could not sit upright, groom themselves, or properly nurse their young
  • Employees who killed rats by shooting them with a BB gun, freezing them, or slamming them against walls, shelves, and other hard surfaces

Most of this generally took place with the full knowledge of Behm. On December 12, 2012, law-enforcement officials entered GCB in response to our investigator’s evidence and mounted what became the largest rescue of neglected rats in U.S. history and the single largest seizure of animals ever in California. While this victory is great news and an important step toward justice for GCB’s many victims, countless animals are languishing and dying in the “pet” trade every day.

Struggling to Survive

Broken valves left hundreds of rats struggling to protect their pups in the rising water. With no escape, an expert explained, rats felt terror watching their young suffer and die.

Do your part: NEVER shop at a pet store or breeder and always adopt from animal shelters.