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Pet dealer won’t regain custody of 26,000 animals seized during raid

U.S. Global Exotics, an exotic pet dealer accused of animal cruelty and linked with a notorious wildlife smuggler based in Malaysia, will not be getting back of the 26,000 animals seized from their facility during a raid on December 15th, reports the Star-Telegram.

On Saturday, Tarrant County Court Judge Jennifer Rymell affirmed Arlington Municipal Judge Michael Smith’s decision that the Arlington-based U.S. Global Exotics mistreated its animals. The company will not regain custody of the animals, which have been housed by the SPCA of Texas at a cost of $10,000 per day since the seizure, which was the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

“All of the animals were subjected to poor air quality,” Smith wrote in his order. “Many of the animals were housed in overcrowded conditions, including many types of animals that are solitary by nature and should not be forced into close proximity even with others from their own species.”

Blue poison dart frog, a species that is commonly smuggled out of its native Suriname even though captive breeding populations exist in Europe and the United States.

“Many of the animals were unreasonably deprived of basic needs, such as food, water, clean bedding, and heat.”

The animals included reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, arachnids, sloths, wallabies, and ring-tailed lemurs.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights activist group that has been raising funds for the animals under the care of the SPCA of Texas, said that is has been able to secure permanent homes for many of the animals with the Detroit Zoo. The group claims that many of the animals seized during the raid were “headed to PetSmart and PETCO distributors nationwide.”

PETA also claimed that U.S. Global Exotics was sourcing animals from CBS Wildlife and Sungai Rusa Wildlife, companies owned by Anson Wong, a Malaysian wildlife trafficker sentenced to 71 months’ in jail in 2000. Wong’s business was recently the subject of The Lizard King, a book by Bryan Christy about the multi-billion-dollar reptile trade.

Peta is calling upon Malaysia to a ban its exotic pet trade and take action against Wong.

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