18,400 Rodents, 600 Reptiles Euthanized in Private Facility after PETA Probe Revealed “Horrendous” Conditions

Monday, December 24, 2012
A woman carries a rat in a plastic container out of Global Captive Breeders in Lake Elsinore. (photo: Sarah Burge, Riverside Press-Enterprise)

Somebody at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) smelled a rat in the Riverside County city of Lake Elsinore. It turned out to be 18,400 rodents and 600 reptiles crammed into a facility operated by Global Captive Breeders.

Animal control officers raided the place on December 12 after a two-month undercover operation by PETA, and after cataloguing the horror euthanized the entire inventory of animals over an 8-day period. More than 40 people from various organizations worked 12-hour shifts to sort through maggot-ridden carcasses of rodents and reptiles.

More than 700 dead animals were found at the facility, which opened in 2009.

“It was a mess,” Lake Elsinore City Manager Grant Yates told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “And this is coming from someone who grew up on a farm.”

PETA documented the abuse on video, which showed rats being shot at with BB guns, slammed against walls, drowned in tubs, hit with metal tongs and put live in a freezer.

The Global Captive Breeders website says the “state of the art” facility in Lake Elsinore is 6,100 square feet, and that the company breeds and imports more than 70 species of reptiles for sale―live and frozen. The website boasts of “optimal conditions” for each species, including “swamp coolers, 30 feet of stainless steel sinks, circulating fans and a large HVAC system” used “to maintain a clean environment.”

Building owner Mark Harrington told the Press-Enterprise that city officials were exaggerating the situation and that the company had never given him any problems.

The company’s website says it hopes to expand soon.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Thousands of Abused Reptiles, Rodents Found in Lake Elsinore Shop (by Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times)

Thousands of Animals Euthanized in Breeder Case (by John F. Hill, Riverside Press-Enterprise)

Large Reptile Breeding Facility Investigated for Neglect (by Sarah Burge, Riverside Press-Enterprise)

Investigation Reveals Hell on Earth for Animals at California Dealer Warehouse (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

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