Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Federal warrant issued for US Global Exotics’ owner Jason Shaw
The seizure affidavit blames the deaths of animals on illness, cruel confinement, overcrowding, and lack of food, water, and veterinary care.
A federal warrant has been issued for U.S. Global Exotics' owner Jason Shaw, and officials now believe he has fled to his native New Zealand. The warrant charges Shaw with multiple violations of the Lacey Act, as well as Smuggling, Conspiracy, and Aiding and Abetting. According to the Animal Legal & Historical Center website, the Lacey Act is "one of the broadest and most comprehensive forces in the federal arsenal to combat wildlife crime." Felony convictions under the Lacey Act can result in the penalties of up to $20,000 and/or five years imprisonment per violation. The federal warrant was issued in February, but only made public this week.
US Global Exotics was located in Arlington and specialized in shipping exotic animals to customers across the globe. Orders were processed on the Internet via the company's now defunct website. But on December 15, 2009, Arlington Animal Services, with assistance from the Humane Society of North Texas and the SPCA of Texas, served a seizure warrant on US Global Exotics alleging inhumane treatment and unsanitary living conditions for the 27,000 exotic animals inside the 5,000 square foot building. Hundreds of the animals were dead when the raid was conducted and hundreds more were sick and dying. The seizure affidavit blames the deaths on illness, cruel confinement, overcrowding, and lack of food, water, and veterinary care.
After a hearing in late December, which included testimony from some of the nation's leading exotic animal experts, an Arlington municipal court judge ruled the more than 27,000 exotic animals were indeed cruelly treated by U.S. Global Exotics and custody of the animals was awarded to the City of Arlington. The Shaw's immediately appealed. Throughout the appeals process, the unusual array of nearly 27,000 animals were cared for 24/7 at the SPCA of Texas by staff and volunteers from the SPCA of Texas and the Humane Society of North Texas, along with species-specific experts and vets from around the country cared. "The sheer volume of animals in this seizure was unlike anything I've seen before in more than 30 years working in the animal welfare field," said James Bias, president of the SPCA of Texas, when asked about caring for the animals from what would eventually become the largest animal seizure in the nation's history.
Finally, on January 30th, after a judge ruled against U.S. Global in their final appeal, the animals were able to begin the journey to their new homes -- in Texas, as well as Virginia, Arizona, Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota Pennsylvania, Maryland, and many other states. The Detroit Zoo provided a home for five wallabies, four sloths, three agoutis, two ring-tailed lemurs, two coatis, two kinkajous, and hundreds of reptiles, spiders, and amphibians. Thousands more -- chinchillas, ferrets, hedgehogs, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, lizards, iguanas, geckos, turtles, tortoises, goldfish, tarantulas, anacondas, scorpions, boas, crabs, and frogs -- went to rescue groups, humane societies, and zoos across the country.
Pegasus News Content partner - DFW Animal Rescue
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