Friday, 4 January 2013

LAKE ELSINORE: Thousands of Animals Euthanized in Breeder Case - via Herp Digest

BY JOHN F. HILL, STAFF WRITER , December 19, 2012 

WEBLINK WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES: PETA video shows conditions at Lake Elsinore facility

WEBLINK Global Captive Breeders website
More than 18,400 rodents and 600 reptiles have been euthanized after being discovered at a breeding business in Lake Elsinore living in squalid conditions, according to animal advocates.
The animals found at Global Captive Breeders were put down during an eight-day investigation and cleanup of a Third Street warehouse.

Teams of 40 to 60 people from various organizations worked 12-hour shifts, sorting through the maggot-ridden carcasses of rodents and reptiles, said Willa Bagwell, executive director of Animal Friends of the valleys, the region’s animal shelter and animal control provider. The surviving animals were eventually deemed by veterinarians to be suffering too much and too dangerous to public health to be saved, she said.

“It’s just been horrendous,” said Bagwell, who said she’d never seen an animal case like it. “You can’t imagine the smell there.”

More than 700 dead rats and reptiles were found.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the operation was the largest seizure of animals ever in California.

The facility’s owner, Mitch Behm, agreed to surrender the live animals and allow them to be euthanized, the city said.

No arrests have been made in the case.

“Authorities are continuing their investigation and working with other agencies in determining next steps,” Lake Elsinore spokesman Justin Carlson said in a statement.
The investigation into animal neglect was sparked by a person working undercover at the facility for PETA, the organization said.

A graphic video posted on PETA’s website shows employees shooting rats with a BB gun and swinging a rat by the tail to bludgeon it on a hard surface. Emaciated reptiles, apparently too weak to move, are seen covered in flies and left to die, according to the text of the video.

The rats, bred and kept as food for reptiles, “were not just doomed to die terrifying, painful deaths inside GCB's walls, but also born into and kept in filth and misery throughout their entire lives,” according to a PETA report.

Live rats were thrown into trash bins to die. Some of the rats drowned in flooded tubs. Others had no water and died of dehydration, according to PETA’s investigator.

The reptiles were kept in dark, opaque bins and slowly starved, the report said. Reptiles transported for sale at trade shows were packed into deli cups and left without food or water for up to a week, the report said. In many cases, it took employees days to notice a reptile had died, PETA said.

The facility employed two full-time workers and one part-timer, PETA said.

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