December 2013 Newsletter
Dear BWF Friend:
Hoppy Holidays to you and yours!
We have been waiting for over FIVE long years for this moment to come. The infamous ring leader of illegal animal traffickers, Juan Mena, finally got arrested and the People vs Juan Mena and Norma Pluma trial started on Nov 26. The traffickers were found GUILTY by the Jury and were sentenced to probation and jail. This marks the beginning of the end of the ongoing practice of animal abuse, cruelty and total disregard for the animal protection laws in Santee Alley, LA Fashion District. The cries of unweaned baby bunnies and other animals have finally been heard.
Guilty Verdict & Jail for Illegal Animal Traffickers
On Dec 6, Pluma was convicted of battery (an assault on a family of four), animal cruelty, and illegal animal sales; Mena of illegal animal trafficking. Because of his repeated criminal activities and his lengthy criminal record, Mena was taken into custody on the day of the verdict. The Sentencing Hearing took place on Dec 10. Pluma got probation, Mena got Christmas and 240 days in jail. BWF members were reporting daily from Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Please visit BWF Facebook page for details.
This is a giant leap forward. This conviction sends a strong message to other illegal animal traffickers that our city will no longer tolerate this abusive behavior. 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.
Special thanks to Deputy City Attorney Kassandra Perez for her work on The Mena/Pluma case, she is truly a superstar; the jury and Judge Lia Martin for a just decision; witnesses Dr. T. Lee (LAAS Vet), Security Officer Nancy Alonso, Detective Matsuda, LAPD officers Garcia and Oseguera for their testimonies; Randal Tampa, BID Operations Director, who has been working with BWF since day one; the old timers Matt Schaffer, Randy McCaine, and Tracy Fischer; other LAPD officers from Central and Newton Division. Thank you from our bunny loving hearts!
LAPD (Central Division) & LA Fashion District Safe & Clean Team Officer Matt Shaffer
Los Angles Times, NBC, ABC, Emmy & Genesis
The Media has been the BWF’s greatest ally. In 2013 alone, BWF was featured in LA Times, Huffington Post, LA Business Journal, KABC News, and NBC’s EIGHT-piece Investigation by Ana Garcia Team. Our voices were heard on KSWD/100.3FM The Sound, 89.3 KPCC, and 102.7 KIIS FM/570 KLAC AM/98.7 KYSR FM.
LA TIMES: “Let's get illegal vendors of bunnies and turtles off L.A.'s streets”
Photo Courtesy: LA Times by Carla Hall Photo Courtesy: Ed Fuentes
GENESIS AWARD: Santee Alley Baby Bunnies *WON* the Genesis Award at the Humane Society of the United States. Thank you Ana and Robbi for re-establishing our faith in Investigative Journalism and for capturing animal traffickers in action.
EMMY AWARD: 65th LA Area Emmy Awards Nominations & Winners. NBC4 Ana Garcia, Reporter. ILLEGAL ANIMAL TRAFFICKERS NBC4 NEWS AT 6, 9 and 1.
Lejla Hadzimuratovic, Robbi Peele, Ana Garcia, Valida Carroll NBC4 Ana Garcia, Reporter
LATEST ON-AIR EFFORTS:
102.7 KIIS FM / 570 KLAC AM / 98.7 KYSR FM: Community Council 3.3.13
89.3 KPCC: Bunny 'Foster Care' Aims to Protect our Easter Icon
KSWD / 100.3FM The Sound: Stop Animal Cruelty!
HUFFINGTON POST: “Andrew Smith, LAPD Commander: 'Rabbit People' Must Be Appeased With Animal Trafficking Arrests”
Recognition by County of LA & California State Assembly
We were too busy saving lives to post these accolades earlier this year, but we think these folks are cool to recognize our work officially. Thank you Rescues on The Runway, California State Assembly, County of Los Angeles, and City of Santa Clarita (Frank Ferry, Mayor). We certainly appreciate the privilege.
Signed by Michael D. Antonovich Cameron M. Smyth, Member of the Assembly
Five & a Half Years: Over 3,000 Rescues, Adoptions, Int'l Outreach & 22K Facebook Fans
We are proud to celebrate our FIVE and a half year voyage and give thanks to ALL who have contributed to our struggle to bring to light illegal animal sales in Los Angeles Fashion District. BWF has rescued over 3,000 unweaned baby bunnies from Santee Alley, Los Angeles Fashion District. Our adopted bunnies have made it to Canada, Germany, Ireland and different US States. Our supporters are spread out from Australia to Phillipines, from Denmark to Lebanon. We have an open door to the community and are eager to assist all unaware buyers who are lured into buying unweaned baby animals that in most cases die within a few days of purchase as they are not old enough make it without mother’s milk. We provide a protocol on how to properly take care of them, advice and consolation.
We are particularly thankful for our incredible Advisory Board, each and every foster, volunteer, and supporter who has contributed their time, energy and commitment to BWF. It takes a community to move mountains and without all of us doing our parts we couldn't even make a dent. So give yourselves a big pat on the back for providing safe, warm, loving homes for foster bunnies, for providing important daily care for Petco bunnies, for transporting, for providing medical care to special needs bunnies, and for donating your time, supplies and money to help the bunnies and the cause. Thank you for showing your support through thick and thin and especially during times of crisis, for we couldn't possibly overcome them if it weren't for YOU.
Our special thanks to Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast Director of the Companion Animal Protection Society for her support, guidance, and mentorship.
What's Next on the BWF Agenda?
Our 2014 goal is to bring the rest of the illegal animal vendors to justice; conduct the undercover investigation and liberate all the moms who are bred constantly, abused, kept in deplorable conditions and discarded or slaughtered when bred out; and put pressure on the DA’s office to consider SB 917 and treat illegal animal sales as felony, not misdemeanor.
According to SB 917 (Lieu, Animal Abuse) which came into effect Jan 1, 2012, “it shall be a crime, punishable as specified, for any person to willfully sell or give away as part of a commercial transaction, a live animal on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival, or boardwalk, or to display or offer for sale, or display or offer to give away as part of a commercial transaction, a live animal if the act of selling or giving away the live animal is to occur on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival, or boardwalk...it is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison, or by a fine of not more than $20,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”
Please go to BWF Advocacy Page and ask LAPD to continue the arrests, but to BOOK THE CRIMINALS UNDER THE CORRECT CHARGE OF FELONY ANIMAL CRUELTY, NOT MISDEMEANOR. Ask the District Attorney’s Office NOT to pass these cases on to City Attorney’s Office, but to handle them according to the law. Finally, ask that the buyers be cited under the Ordinance No. 181851 for purchasing these animals.
A law is only as good as its enforcement, and that’s why animals rely on you to protect them. 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.
Photo Courtesy Ed Fuentes
Hoppy Holidays & Your Year-End Donation to Bunnies
As you reflect on 2013, we wish that you will think of all the wonderful animals who we have rescued and cared for and include BWF in your year-end charitable giving. We have accomplished a lot, but the truth is -- without our generous board members, volunteers, and friends like you who continue to support our mission, we could not do any of the wonderful things mentioned in this Newsletter.
As 2013 comes to a close, the needs of our bunnies and the challenges we face in 2014 continue and so we ask you to please remember BWF in your holiday gift plans. Your year-end tax-deductible donation will make a positive difference as we head into the New Year. You can donate via Givezooks or via PayPal, or contribute by paying our vet directly.
All of us at BWF are grateful for your help and support in 2013 and we wish you and your loved ones a Safe and Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!
Lejla Hadzimuratovic Valida Carroll
President, Founder Co-founder
Bunny World Foundation (BWF), is a non-profit 501(c) 3, ALL-VOLUNTEER, 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, Los Angeles Fashion District. For more information, please visit BWF Website. www.bunnyworldfoundation.org.