For immediate release:
WHO: Bunny World Foundation (BunnyWorldFoundation.org)
WHAT: The sentencing hearing for Juan Mena and Norma Pluma, illegal animal traffickers prosecuted and found guilty by LA’s City Attorney office, is scheduled for Tuesday, December 10 at 9:00 am.
On December 6, Norma Pluma was convicted for battery against a person, animal cruelty, and illegal animal sales. Juan Mena, was convicted of illegal animal trafficking. Because of his repeated criminal activities and his lengthy criminal record, he was taken into custody on the day of the verdict and currently sits in jail.
“After over five years of investigations, we are satisfied,” says Lejla Hadzimuratovic, founder and president of Bunny World Foundation, “I was personally assaulted by these animal traffickers just for coming to the aid of dying animals who they were abusing. This is a giant leap forward and the cries of un-weaned baby bunnies have finally been heard. This conviction sends a strong message to other illegal animal traffickers that our city will no longer tolerate this abusive behavior.”
Santee Alley, in the Los Angeles Fashion District, is the city's number one haven for illegal animal sales where underaged rabbits, kittens, salmonella infected turtles, parvo-infected puppies, and exotic birds are sold illegally on a daily basis. The purchase of animals on the streets of LA is also a crime. These convicted criminals defrauded buyers, telling them that the bunnies were a dwarf breed when, in fact, they were 7–10 day old babies.
“After years of trying to stop illegal animal trafficking and the abuse of so many underaged animals, we are pleased that the court finally convicted,” said Susan Tellem, founder of American Tortoise Rescue. “Baby turtles were sold illegally by the thousands in small plastic bags and while they are supposed to live 25 years or more, most died within days.”
“Finally, our city officials are taking action against illegal animal sales,” said Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast Director of the Companion Animal Protection Society. “Un-weaned baby animals of all kinds are horribly mistreated by these criminals on a routine basis. Downtown LA is enjoying a cultural renaissance and we are happy that the city is kicking these criminals out and we hope that they get the maximum sentence.”
“These convicted criminals, Pluma and Mena, aren’t even in our country legally. They ought to be deported immediately after serving their time. As we move forward in our battle against illegal animal traffickers in LA, we hope that the authorities will see to it that the appropriate felony convictions will apply to other animal traffickers who dare to abuse animals on our public streets. These criminals are not only a danger to animals, as this conviction proves, they are a danger to the public as well. Violent people such as these belong in prison,” says Lejla Hadzimuratovic, founder and president of Bunny World Foundation.
WHERE: Los Angeles Superior Court
Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center
Floor 7 / Division 54
210 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Judge Lia Martin
WHEN: Tuesday, December 10 at 9:00 am.
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T (310) 498-8600
Bunny World Foundation (BWF), is a non-profit 501(c) 3 animal welfare organization founded in 2008 in LA, California. Its mission is to combat animal cruelty, illegal animal sales, exploitation and neglect of all animals, through rescue efforts, public education, research, investigations, legislation, special events, and media attention. BWF has rescued over 3000 un-weaned baby bunnies from Santee Alley. For more information, please visit www.bunnyworldfoundation.org.
Photo Courtesy: Ed Fuentes