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Animal-Dealer Owner, Manager Face More Than 200 Felony Cruelty, Torture Charges

Global Captive Breeders Suspects Arrested After PETA Investigation Exposed Severe Suffering, Sparked Largest-Ever U.S. Animal Case Bust

For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2013

Contact:
Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Lake Elsinore, Calif. — Following a two-month PETA investigation of Lake Elsinore–based Global Captive Breeders, LLC (GCB), in late 2012 that revealed cruelty to animals on a massive scale, GCB owner Mitch Behm and the manager of the now-closed facility, David Delgado, were arrested Friday and each was charged with 106 counts of felony cruelty to animals. Delgado also faces 11 felony charges of torturing or killing rodents. PETA’s video footage and photographs reveal how reptiles were left to starve to death slowly, how rodents and reptiles were forced to live in their own accumulated waste, and how rats routinely drowned because of faulty equipment and were bludgeoned, slammed against hard surfaces, and tossed—sometimes alive—into trash cans. With approximately 16,000 rats and 600 reptiles found suffering and dying at the facility, PETA’s investigation led to the largest seizure of rats in U.S. history and the largest-ever seizure of animals in California.

“It’s too late for the animals who were bludgeoned, drowned, and starved to death at Global Captive Breeders, but two people must now answer for the sea of suffering,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch, who notes that each of the charges filed against Behm and Delgado is punishable by up to $20,000 in fines and 36 months behind bars. “The house of horrors that PETA uncovered revealed the extent of abuse and neglect in the notoriously cruel reptile and small-‘pet’ trade.”

In March, actor Jenna Dewan-Tatum joined the more than 35,000 people who signed PETA’s petition calling on Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach to seek justice for the animals.

This wasn’t PETA’s first encounter with Behm. In the mid-1980s, when he was a college student, he videotaped himself having “fun” throwing mice, rats, and rabbits into a tub with ferrets, who attacked and killed them.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.