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Support Through Advocacy

ANIMALS ARE DYING AT SANTEE ALLEY! Please help us combat animal cruelty in the Los Angeles Fashion District.


Fashion District's Outlaw Pet Markets

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By Steven Mikulan

Ed Fuentes has a well-documented story on BlogDowntown about the appalling conditions surrounding the small animals sold in L.A.'s fashion district. "At the corner of 12th and Maple," Fuentes writes, "two stacks of cages sit in the mid-afternoon August sun. Inside are baby rabbits with underdeveloped legs -- barely supporting their body weight -- shaking on top of wilted lettuce leaves."

These are "un-weaned baby rabbits . . . some as young as a few days old," whose new owners quickly discover their pets to be suffering from diarrhea. Fuentes quotes Randall Tampa, the local Business Improvement District's operations director, as claiming that "What people are buying are animals at the end of their lives."

Calling the would-be pets the "fashion district's other illegal inventory," Fuentes says the open-air sale of rabbits, fish and turtles has been a fact of district life since the 1990s. Its vendors are closely watched by what Fuentes characterizes as "pet cartels." High season is Easter, he says, when the bunnies are costumed and ducks join the caged menageries of iguanas, turtles and hamsters.

One of the few heroes to emerge in the article is Lejla Hadzimuratovic, an actress and PETA member who created the Bunny World Foundation, which cares for rabbits rescued from Santee Alley and its environs.


Fashion District's Other Illegal Inventory: Animals

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Near Santee Alley, baby rabbits with no protection from the heat wait to be sold. Selling animals has been a visible, and illegal, industry since the 1990s. 

Luckily, the baby rabbits have a caretaker in Lejla Hadzimuratovic, an actress and former member of PETA who was assaulted last year after taking photos of animal vendors at 12th and Maple. She and two other members of her group were battered by individuals who jumped out of a car to protect their investment.

Despite news coverage and an investigation, no charges were filed by Newton Division, she said. The incident did, however, prompt her to form an organization, now operating as the non-profit Bunnyworldfoundation, to heal and help find homes for newborn rabbits sold in the Fashion District.

"We are still working closely with LAPD," said Hadzimuratovic, who is making a documentary on the animal sales near Santee Alley. "Since June 2008, we have saved 450 baby rabbits, and found homes for 250 of them."

To read the full article, please click here.



West of Broadway Theater Company 
Edgemar Center for the Arts 
Sundays at 3:00 through April 26

In this outrageous adaptation of the classic Tale of Peter Rabbit, Peter is no longer just your average cute baby bunny. This time out, he's on a mission to take back the cabbage patch and rescue the Great Giant Rabbit from Sgt. McGregor. West of Broadway Theater Company and Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California combine traditional theater with active audience participation for a high-energy good time and a must-see for children of all ages. And for a special treat, you can meet real live bunnies from - no, not from Hef's mansion - from the Bunny World Foundation!


Where the Wild Things Are

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By Anna Scott

On Monday, June 16, Lejla Hadzimuratovic, an actress and volunteer for the nonprofit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, went to gather video and photographs of a vendor selling birds near 12th and Maple streets.

Known for occasionally employing confrontational, attention-grabbing tactics, PETA frequently uses cameras, sometimes hidden, to expose animal abuse or mistreatment.

Twenty-year-old Crystal Avarez and a 17-year-old girl, who asked that her name not be revealed because she feared retribution, accompanied Hadzimuratovic. The two said they are not affiliated with PETA.

After the three began snapping photos, Hadzimuratovic and Avarez said, the two vendors, a man and a woman, confronted them. They argued, and minutes later, they said, two vehicles pulled up and a group of women jumped out. The three were battered and chased away.

"They started pushing and slapping us and asking for identification," said Avarez. "We started running to the car, and they [would not] let us get in. It was like a mob."

Click here to read entire story.

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