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Victory! Second Judge Rules that USGE Will Not Regain Custody of Animals

Written by PETA | January 31, 2010

In what is an outstanding victory for animals and a crippling blow to the exotic pet trade, Tarrant County Court Judge Jennifer Rymell yesterday affirmed Municipal Judge Michael Smith’s outstanding January 5 ruling: U.S. Global Exotics will not regain custody of the more than 26,000 animals confiscated by Arlington officials in a massive civil seizure last month.

After reviewing hours of testimony, video, and photos taken on the day of the seizure and gathered during PETA’s seven-month undercover investigation of USGE, Judge Rymell affirmed Judge Smith’s ruling that Jasen and Vanessa Shaw, the owners and operators of USGE, had cruelly treated all the animals seized from their business on December 15. Thousands of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, arachnids, and many other animals—including sloths, wallabies, and ring-tailed lemurs—were cruelly confined to hideously cramped, filthy litter pans, dungeon-like cattle-feeding troughs, boxes, bags, and even soda bottles. They were denied desperately needed food, water, veterinary care, and other basic care. PETA’s undercover investigator documented that animals were starved and dehydrated, had resorted to eating each other out of stress and hunger, had wounds that were so deep that muscle and bone were exposed and legs were chewed off, were thrown away like trash, were intentionally frozen to death in the facility’s freezers, and more.


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Warning: This video contains strong language.


The animals seized have been held and cared for at a facility set up by experts brought in by PETA to ensure their welfare and safety and were cared for daily by staff of the SPCA of Texas, the wonderful Detroit Zoo, the Humane Society of North Texas, and other groups. Food and supplies for these thousands of animals have been subsidized by PETA—and costs run several thousand dollars a week. The great news is that we have been able to secure permanent homes for many of the animals with the Detroit Zoo—where they will have top-notch care—and prescreened groups are lined up to take in many others!

Since the December 15 raid, USGE has effectively been dead—it has not bought or sold a single animal! This means that PETA’s investigation and efforts have saved far more than 26,000 animals—the organization has spared tens of thousands of animals the misery of being captured and taken from their native homes; shipped in cramped crates, pillowcases, and containers; and kept in deplorable, hellish conditions at USGE’s nasty warehouse. The animals rescued from USGE will never have to suffer at the hands of the cruel pet trade ever again.

This is a huge victory that has saved countless lives, but until the PETCOs and PetSmarts of the world stop selling animals—all of whom come from hellholes like USGE, where profit is the only thing that counts and where the lives and welfare of these animals mean nothing—the misery will continue. Many of the animals pulled out of USGE in the nick of time were headed to PetSmart and PETCO distributors nationwide. Please don’t shop at PETCO or PetSmart, and tell your friends not to shop there either and never to support any pet store that sells live animals.

Written by Shawna Flavell

Commenting is closed.
  • Jeanine M. says:

    The “people” that commit such crimes against an innocent creature, one of God’s creatures, these people are not real. They have no heart-no feelings; no mind – no thought, no conscience, no care. They think they can do whatever they want to an animal because they think they are better than an animal and that the animal has no feelings, no pain. These “people” are automotrons. They are possessed by the devil because only the devil can create such a horror. Thank You PETA for exposing them and for the investigators outstanding work for being on the side of animals everywhere, of any kind.

  • Jessica Thomas says:

    THANK YOU PETA!!!!!!!!! This video makes me want to vomit I am so disturb and upset thank god the ones that were saved were…this was just horrific again thank you.

  • Grace says:

    I cannot believe that all the other employee’sjust stand around watching these poor animals that have not eaten for weeks.All they can stay is oh I forgot to ask for the food. It is a shame that there are people like them with no heart. I wish I could lock them in a dirty cage and no food for weeks at a time.Thank God for the person that went under cover. I hope this is no longer going on.

  • Melanie says:

    Thank you for having the courage to go undercover for the animals. You have done a wonderful and life saving deed. I don’t think I could have done what you have done and endur the hardship of having to see the animals suffer but thank God for people like you. God bless you. Melanie Waggett

  • DENISE says:


  • Sandra Deneault says:

    This is MUSIC to my ears This is LOVE to my heart Thanks PETA I love you …and the judge

  • CLAUDY says:


  • Angela says:

    I have adopted 2 hamsters and 2 senior dogs from rescue one of which was rescued from a puppymill she lived in for 9 years. I call them my babies. I spoil my babies rotten. Any trainer would say it’s wrong but I’m making up for what they have missed all their lives. PetSmart became my favorite place to shop. I have spent lots of money there. I walked out of other pet stores that sold puppies knowing where they come from but one reason I liked PetSmart so much was that they support adoption of cats and dogs. I was shocked! I guess I never really thought about where the hamsters ferrets birds mice guinea pigs chinchillas lizards come from. I wrote them a letter and I visited them personally to tell them why I will no longer shop there. I feel sad and hurt at the same time. Its like I’ve been betrayed by a best friend. Thanks for enlightening me PETA.

  • Dina says:

    Great victory for these animals. I number of years ago I wrote PETA regarding the treatment of birds in Petland. Dirty water dirty food sick animals the ability for just anyone to purchase one of these exotic animals without any vital information on proper care etc. I am happy for these steps taken to stop selling exotics in stores like Petland and Petco.

  • Andrea says:

    PETA you are the voice of all the abused and killed animals. The world is a brighter place because of you. I want the hurting and deaths of our precious innocent animals to end just as much as you do. I will ALWAYS support you. Let us all make the pain stop for these wonderful creatures forever!

  • Sherry says:

    Kudos as always to PETA for saving rescuing and healing.

  • Jeannette says:

    Thank God for Peta you will be blessed always. God made these beautiful animals to habit this earth in freedom and peace. No one has the right to take them out of there natural habit or to abuse hurt torture or sell.These people should be severley punished in some way we don’t needs these types in our world.This is oure Evil!

  • Amy says:

    On behalf of animals everywhere and from myself thank you PETA you are the best at what you do! Lets get another victory STOP selling animals in petshops and ADOPT! I wish that the local PETCO here would promote adoption and stop selling ANY animal with thousands of animals in these shelters waiting for homes it would be a godsend…People just need to STOP breeding for profit most of those animals end up in shelters anyway!

  • Carole says:

    I am ecstatic that PETA is on this planet!!!!!!!!

  • Rosanne Cornett says:

    Thank you for all your time and energy…PETA ROCKS!

  • Charlie Lammers says:

    Thanks PETA for everything you are doing to make this troubled world a little more humane. I wish people found guilty of animal cruelty would be subjected to the same savagery they are found guilty of.