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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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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.
  • tina mclees says:

    It does not say if these people will ever be able to sell or own again but I sure hope not. Thanks PETA for all that you do

  • Beth says:

    Great work PETA for saving all those defenseless animals!

  • Samantha says:

    Victory for animals and animal lovers! I will never understand how anyone could have such little compassion for any living things. Since reading the article a month or so ago me and my household have stopped buying our animal care products from stores with live animals.

  • Smiley says:

    Thank you PETA. I am proud to be a member. It saddens me that some humans feel the need to torture and kill innocent animals all in the name of money. These animals deserve to live in their natural habitat.

  • shirley says:

    people that abuse animals are disgusting…people who knowingly buy abused and exploited animals are even more disgusting……please lets do our homework people. thanks peta good job!

  • Lisa says:

    Some humans make me sick!!! These animals deserve better treatment after all these animas were brought in they did not walk in 0n their on!!!!daa Do The RIGHT THING let the animals go so they can live happy lives!!!!!!

  • vicki says:

    THANK YOU !!!!!!!!

  • chander kumar soni says:


  • Stephanie says:

    What an awful thing to do to animals that only want to give love and receive it! Thankyou PETA for saving them!!!!!

  • Sue says:

    Is it possible to put any of these creatures back into the wild into their native home rather than a zoo?

  • Abhishek Dhir says:

    Gr8 work PETA!!

  • Anna Gates says:

    Ahh how sad. Don’t want anything like that to ever happen again!

  • Tanya Marwood says:

    Well done you folks at PETA. Nevertheless as long as animals are commercialised for food or as pets this kind of thing will continue to happen sad but true. Why? Because there are humans who hold profit and money above all things. How do we stop it? Education? Legislation? I wish I had the answer. Going vegan and only adopting pets from shelters might help I suppose.

  • Lissell says:

    Can PETA start a media campaign against all PETCO’s? if we dont get the word out to other circles that are not subscribed to PETA news people will never know and will keep buying pets from them without knowing the ordeal they went through… would it be legal?

  • Laura Whitworth says:

    I used to work at Petsmart in the now “deleted” equine dept. and when I asked they lied to me… telling me the animals were all bred locally specifically for Petsmart and that’s how they certified their “good “health!! THANK GOD FOR PETA!! PETA PEOPLE WORK TIRELESSLY TO MAKE OUR BELOVED ANIMAL’S LIVES AND THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!!

  • Pam Ewing says:

    Thank you PETA !! This is a victory for animals everywhere…I appreciate all of the hard work that you are doing for our loved animal all over the world!!!

  • linda brockett says:

    Thank you for rescuing the animals that could be saved i hope these low lifes get their just desserts and are thrown in jail for a very long time along with a ban from keeping animals for life.

  • Genevieve Robinson says:

    I am so embarrassed to be a New Zealander when this sort of things happen. Yes a NZ couple owned this business. Thank goodness they are no longer allowed the animals back. I saw the footage makes me sick to my back teeth.

  • lynne says:

    Great news hope all the animals get good homes so a big thankyou to petaall others involved not forgetting and being suprised by the wisdom and care of the judge.

  • athena gerber says:

    Excellent news keep up the good work Maybe we can move the effort to cyprus where pet shops have about iguanas in a fishtank!!

  • Shelly says:

    So I was at my local Petco the other day buying supplies for my lizard and i happened to stumble upon an adult rat missing half of it’s tale. I went completely off making a huge scene about a video I watched on this site a while back about the things these poor creatures go through just to live their lives in tanks. its repulsive. all the girls working looked at me like I was outrageous.. needless to say the 2 customers about to purchase a rabbit left the store empty handed.

  • Kayla says:

    Where should you get pets other than adopting for instance I can’t afford to house a dog in my apt the down payment and rent are absurd but would like to care for a small animal like a gerbil?

  • Heather says:

    What I don’t understand the most is why wouldn’t you take care of the animals so you would be able to sell them? By not taking care of them at all you are not being able to sell them. Looking at this video it appears as though this company will make no money. This is such a shame! No reason for the abuse that happens to innocent animals.

  • Loreen Regnander says:


  • Aaron says:

    I wouldn’t label myself as a PETA person. I really do hate to see cruelty to animals though. Too bad our Government is so inept. I guess one of my problems with PETA is they always seem too extreme. But good work on this case. Aaron

  • Kayla says:

    I’m so happy to see some good news! What you guys do investigating these monsters takes for lack of a better term balls! I’m the only vegetarian in my family have been one since I was 6 believe it or not but I now see that egg and dairy products are contributing to the problem too. Can you tell me what brands of dairy products if any use freeroaming cows for milk? Also if Petco is a bad place to get your pets where should we get them? I know SPCA but what about animals like rodents… etc? Thanks

  • Kenady says:

    Peta is truley My God333 I love you Peta and Everyone in Peta!

  • Monica says:

    great!! lets keep up the good work

  • Cynthia says:

    Thank you Peta Soooo much! You give me motivation to get out there and help our 4 legged friends. God Bless you Im am so gratefull to have such an amazing organization.

  • Kasia says:

    This is such a wonderfuluplifting news.You guys are the best!

  • Carla says:


  • Mary says:

    This is great news I am now becoming vegan and will do my part to end animal exploitation and cruelty. Thanks PETA for existing.

  • Ciara says:

    Everytime i see this it makes me relise how STUPID and self centred some people in this world is ! i will never buy of this people and i would do ANYTHING to help all animals to be free 3

  • Saucy says:

    Ooooooops. Sorry Michael Smith for that last post. It is so typical of our society to look the other way and twist the law to line the pockets of the greedmongers. Thank both of you for your compassionate rulings.

  • Elena says:

    PETA you are UNBELIVABLE organization thank you to be here!!!!STOP the KILLERS!!!!THEY are not HUMAN THEY are not beings they are just stuffs we don’t need it!!!BRAVO good victory!!

  • Marnie says:

    Kudos love you PETA !!!!!!! Snoopydances !!

  • Patty Miller says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to ALL of you who do this wonderful work!!!!!! The animal world is just a tiny bit safer with people like you in it. Bless you all!!!

  • Andre Inglis says:

    I think that USGE should be paying for the animals food and shelter. They were the ones that capured them and breeded them into existence. Why should PETA have to pay? I’ll be telling friends and family about boycotting Petsmart and Petco.

  • Rad_Rosa89 says:

    This is amazing news!! Great work PETA!! Animals need to stop being sold!!

  • John says:

    I think what Patrice wrote is very important. Petlands are buying from these dealers too AS WELL AS buying from puppy mills at least PetSmart and PetCo don’t buy from puppy mills!

  • Brian says:

    I’m sure PetSmart sells animals bought from places like USGE somewhere and I’ve seen some which is enough small animals that were likely bred intentionally for sale. Which is horrible and should be stopped regardless of what good they do. But mainly my nearby PetSmarts fill the cat dog glassedin cage areas with rescues up for adoption not bred for sale. They’re always trying to recruit me to come volunteer with them.

  • LuAnne says:

    this abomination does not surprise me at all.when it comes to money and big profitlife means nothing.these people should be shot!no judgeno jurynothin but the taste of lead!or better yeti would have them dancing on the end of a rope!!


    I just want to say Thank You to the brave guy who went undercover without the evidence then these animals would still be in danger your courage is admirable.

  • Patrice says:

    Thank you for helping these animals and for stopping their business. Petland also bought from this supplier as I used to work at Petlandand many an animal would come in frozen sick dead or dying..Please mention Petland in your stories about this seizure. Thank You!!

  • Kim says:

    I didn’t know that Petco sold animals. The one near my hometown only sells pet supplies and has adoption days with the local animal rescue organization. Why can’t all the branches be like that?

  • John says:

    I am a PetSmart stockholder and I am outraged that they are buying wildcaught animals that are then being further tortured. Wild animals are not pets! There are plenty of domesticated animals as pets. This is ridiculous. PetSmart must stop buying from these dealers NOW!

  • Jacob says:

    Thank you PETA! A monumental day in the exotic animal trade. i am certainly going to make a generous donation to your cause in celebration.

  • Toby says:

    According to a Farmers’ magazine I saw USGE filed a lawsuit alleging the undercover PETA worker deliberately abused animals in order to bring the company down I doubt that the PETA whistleblower was guilty of what he was blowing the whistle for in the first place and that rather USGE was seeking vengencecompensation.

  • Aneliese says:

    Fantastic news!