Born to Die
those weakened by illness and suffering from injuries were
routinely grabbed by the tail and slammed into metal posts, racks, tables, and
walls when workers (including the facility's manager) decided to kill them.
Many didn't die quickly―and were thrown into trash bins or into a reptile's
cage while still alive and convulsing. Some rats, including newborns, were
frozen alive, despite the availability of a makeshift gas box in which the
animals could have been killed with less suffering. Loose rats were shot with a
BB gun, one rat was stomped on and maimed then whipped against a metal rack and
finally killed, and several rats were bludgeoned with metal tongs and the handle
of a BB gun.
- Tubs used
for housing flooded frequently, drowning countless rats and leaving hundreds of
others to struggle to keep their heads above water as the water rose.
Exhausted, shivering, and terrified, many mother rats watched helplessly as
their newborns drowned.
of rats were found dead in tubs, where they had been deprived of the most basic
necessities—moderately clean air, dry bedding, drinking water, nutritious food,
veterinary care, minimally humane handling, and adequate space to groom and
engage in other normal and essential forms of behavior.
sorting and moving rats, the facility manager was among those who threw them up
to 8 feet into hard plastic containers.
valves in rat enclosures frequently malfunctioned, leaving the animals without
water for extended periods of time, parched, their noses bloody from pushing at
the bone-dry valves, dehydrated, and in many cases, dead.
Slowly Starved, Intentionally Ignored
repeatedly told workers not to care for the facility's reptiles because
his revenue was coming from the rat-breeding operation and there was "no
reason to spend time up front" (where the reptiles were housed) when the
reptiles weren't generating any revenue.
reptiles were kept shelved in lightless, opaque drawers so small that they
could not move, eat, or eliminate normally and were trapped with their own
reptiles were kept confined without access to water.
- Dozens of
reptiles packed up for sale at a trade show were crammed into plastic deli cups
and denied food, water, and other essentials for at least a week.
deprivation was the norm at GCB—reptiles often languished for weeks before
finally dying—hopeless, isolated, and robbed of all that was natural and
important to them.
in Filth, Mired in Misery
PETA's investigator never saw GCB bring a veterinarian into the
facility and was consistently turned down when he asked about providing
veterinary care to any of the animals, even those who were clearly in critical
condition and on death's door.
PETA's investigator brought obviously sick and injured animals'
suffering to the attention of Behm, the manager, and others but to no avail.
Week after week, animals languished and died, including these:
emaciated, lethargic, pale, and shriveled albino boa constrictor—lying
alongside maggots and reeking of rotting flesh for a month—whom the manager and
a worker refused to help or even put out of his or her misery because Behm
would have reportedly gotten angry. Instead, Behm told the manager to
"wash" the snake in water; the snake was dead within a week.
- For about
a week, a thin, listless baby black tree monitor who was cold to the touch was
left to waste away slowly before finally dying. The manager said it would be
"too expensive" to euthanize the lizard. Another worker said that the
animal had "to languish … [u]ntil he" died.
- A Hogg
Island boa constrictor was left to suffer with an untreated, grossly swollen
nose for over a month after the manager saw the snake. A worker used a
thumbtack that he got off a bulletin board to repeatedly jab the snake's face
and puncture the animal's nose as the snake struggled and writhed. The worker
then repeatedly squeezed the snake's face, hard, until pus erupted from the
wound. The snake's nose swelled back up within a couple of days, and he
continued to languish.
- A weak
and debilitated blue tongue skink was left to drag his injured back leg and
suffer for more than a week before dying. When PETA's investigator told the
manager that the skink needed care, the manager threw his hands in the air and
exclaimed, "There is nothing I can do for him … if he dies, he dies.
That's better than him living here, I guess."
History of Sadism
You Can Do
Immediately after the seizure of GCB's animals, PETA
turned over detailed evidence of cruelty to animals at the facility to
Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach's office. A few weeks later, Zellerbach's office was also supplied with
additional compelling evidence—including veterinary expert reports, video footage
and photos obtained during the seizure by humane officers, and more—of cruelty-to-animals
violations at GCB.
Please urge Zellerbach to file felony cruelty-to-animals charges
against all appropriate parties without further delay.
cruelty uncovered by PETA's investigator at GCB is typical of the filth,
crowding, deprivation, and stress that PETA's investigations of pet-trade
suppliers have documented over and over again. You can help reptiles, rats,
mice, and other animals exploited by this ruthless, greed-driven business of
misery and suffering by vowing never to patronize stores that sell live
animals. Share this investigation with your friends and family now.