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Southern California breeders who had 20,000 dead, dying animals plead guilty to cruelty

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RIVERSIDE, California — Southern California exotic pet breeders who had 20,000 dead and dying rats and reptiles at their business have pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.

Riverside County prosecutors say Mitchell Behm entered pleas Thursday to a dozen misdemeanor charges.

He's expected to be sentenced to probation and community service and to pay $158,000 in restitution.

Behm owned Global Captive Breeders of Lake Elsinore, which sold exotic snakes and reptiles and raised rats for reptile food.

The business manager, David Delgado, pleaded guilty to a dozen felony counts and could face up to five years and four months in jail.

Authorities say they found disgusting and horrendous conditions when they went to the business in 2012 following an undercover investigation by animal rights activists.

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