Exotic-Animal Dealer, Manager Plead Guilty to Misdemeanor, Felony Cruelty

Defunct Global Captive Breeders Owner, Manager Expected to Be Banned From Animal Business Dealings; Owner Must Pay Restitution Reportedly Totaling More Than $158,000

For Immediate Release:
April 4, 2014

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Riverside County, Calif.

Resolved: the case of Lake Elsinore–based Global Captive Breeders, LLC (GCB), where more than 16,000 suffering animals were seized in late 2012—the largest seizure of animals ever in California—after a two-month PETA investigation revealed that thousands of animals were left to starve, drown, and suffer without even basic veterinary care. GCB owner Mitch Behm has pleaded guilty to 12 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, and the manager of the now-closed facility, David Delgado, has pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts.

Both men are expected to be sentenced to five years of formal probation—during which they may not enter any business venture involving animals or acquire any animals. Behm must also pay restitution—reportedly totaling more than $158,000—to both PETA and the City of Lake Elsinore for costs associated with the investigation and the seizure of the animals. Behm and Delgado are scheduled to be sentenced on April 15 and May 22, respectively.

“What went on at Global Captive Breeders—where employees bludgeoned rats and left reptiles to starve to death slowly—shows the shocking extent of cruelty in the reptile and small-‘pet’ trade,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA thanks the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office for taking these crimes seriously and demonstrating that abuse of animals won’t be tolerated.”

PETA’s video footage and photographs from GCB reveal that rodents and reptiles were forced to live amid their own accumulated waste and rats routinely drowned because of faulty equipment. Delgado slammed rats into hard surfaces, froze animals alive, shot rats with a BB gun, and was caught stomping on a rat. Behm repeatedly told workers not to care for the facility’s reptiles because they weren’t generating revenue and consistently refused PETA’s investigator’s request to provide the facility’s animals, including those in critical condition, with veterinary care.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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