- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) - The second of two exotic pet breeders who had 20,000 dead and dying rats and reptiles in a Southern California warehouse was sentenced to work release and probation.

David Delgado, 30, who had been the manager of Global Captive Breeders, pleaded guilty in April to a dozen counts of felony animal cruelty.

He was sentenced Thursday to 180 days in a work-release program, 250 hours of community service and five years of probation, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported (https://bit.ly/TCnDjG ).

The terms prohibit him from owning or working with animals, although his family will be allowed to keep the three family dogs they already have.

The owner of the Lake Elsinore business, Mitchell Steven Behm, 55, was sentenced last month to five years of probation and ordered to pay more than $190,000 in restitution.

Global Captive Breeders sold exotic snakes and reptiles, along with rats for reptile food.

In 2012, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals received a tip from a whistleblower and sent an undercover investigator.

After two months of documentation from PETA, animal-control workers entered the warehouse, only to find themselves gasping for air and running for the exits over the stench.

Some of the animals already were dead when rescue workers arrived. Veterinarians determined that those still living were too sick to treat and too toxic to move, so they had to be euthanized.

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Information from: The Press-Enterprise, https://www.pe.com

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