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Breeder in animal cruelty case banned from working with animals

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Reptile breeder sentenced to 180 days of work release in animal cruelty case
Rialto man banned from working with animals after rats and snakes found in appalling conditions

The manager of an exotic pet breeding company where thousands of rats and emaciated and decomposing snakes were found in Lake Elsinore has been sentenced to work release and five years' probation.

David Delgado, 30, of Rialto was ordered to serve 180 days of work release, 250 hours of community service and probation as part of a plea deal, said John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney's office.

He cannot own any animals, except for his three family dogs, and Judge Judith Clark banned him from working at any animal-related businesses.

Global Captive Breeders' owner Mitchell Steven Behm, 55, of Coto de Caza, pleaded guilty in April to animal cruelty charges after authorities found more than 18,000 rats and several hundred reptiles in 2012 in appalling conditions.

At the time, he was ordered to serve five years' probation and 200 hours of community service.

Behm and Delgado must pay more than $190,000 in restitution to Lake Elsinore and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The discovery was made during an undercover sting conducted by a PETA member, who posed as an employee and recorded video.

The recordings showed rotting snake carcasses, an employee slamming rats against surfaces and shooting and killing them with pellet guns. Animals that were found alive had to be euthanized.

The video recordings were turned over to authorities, who raided the facility.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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