Click here for an update on this story.
The City of Lake Elsinore is reporting that a widespread effort is underway to deal with the thousands of reptiles and rodents being analyzed as a result of an investigation into alleged malpractices at Global Captive Breeders on Third Street.
“Since initial inspections of possible animal neglect/cruelty at Global Captive Breeders [in Lake Elsinore], Animal Friends of the Valleys, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Marin Humane Society, and other animal control agencies from around the United States have been working continuously to identify, catalog, and asses the health and wellbeing of the company’s animals,” said Justin Carlson, spokesman for the City of Lake Elsinore.
Willa Bagwell, executive director of Wildomar-based said when officials the situation was dire.
“What we saw was horrific animal conditions involving thousands of dead animals in various states of decay as well as dying in their enclosures. In my 25 years of conducting animal control this is the most horrific case of animal cruelty, neglect, and suffering that I have encountered,” she said.
As of noon Monday, approximately 600 reptiles and 18,400 rodents had been identified and assessed by a team of veterinary experts, rat and reptile specialists, and animal cruelty investigation professionals, Carlson said.
“We are continuing to inventory and evaluate the rodent population. The reptile counts have been confirmed and we continue to assess their situation as well,” Bagwell said.
Carlson said an investigation into the facility began Dec. 7 after the city received a complaint. Additionally, Carlson said PETA contacted the city with “serious concerns related to the facility.”
“The animals in question are exotic snakes and other types of reptiles as well as rodents,” Carlson said.
The local phone number for Global Captive Breeders has been disconnected and calls to the company’s Orange County office have not been returned.
According to its website, Global Captive Breeders in Lake Elsinore is “state of the art,” with over 6,100 square feet of space where animals are housed and bred to be sold to the public.
Among the snakes the company breeds are various boas, pythons, colubrids and others; some of the animals are "wild caught," according to the Global Captive Breeders website.