(UPDATE: Bunnies Taken In By Rescuers).
Los Angeles police say it's not unusual to find vendors selling illicit animals in the Fashion District before holidays. This year is no different: Police on patrol in the area over the weekend and came up with 35 miniature rabbits, apparently being marketed for Easter.
Also seized: 79 turtles, six iguanas, and one parrot. The animals were turned over to the Department of Animals Services. Demetrio Plumamena, 46, was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty in connection with the seizures.
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"The illegal sales of animals is a perennial problem in the Fashion District, especially as certain holidays approach, like Easter," stated Lt. Paul Vernon, commander of Central Division's detectives.
Cops on the beat in the 1200 block of Wall Street Saturday came across the suspect assembling animal cages on a sidewalk. They nabbed him for allegedly selling animals on the street, which is illegal in the city. But then, according to the allegations, the officers discovered that the animals were kept in cramped cages and likely were malnourished.
"The biggest concern here is for the animals' welfare and how they are treated," Lt. Vernon stated. "But humans' health and safety is also a concern because these animals can pass on disease."
Anyone who has seen similar sales or conditions was asked to call police at 800-222-8477.