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News Release

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Media Relations

Police Seize Holiday Animals, Arrest for Animal Cruelty NR10129pv

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles police turned over 35 miniature rabbits, 79 turtles, 1 parrot, and 6 iguanas to the Department of Animals Services after arresting Demetrio Plumamena, 46, for felony, Animal Cruelty.

Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of Central Detective Division said, “The illegal sales of animals is a perennial problem in the Fashion District, especially as certain holidays approach, like Easter.”

On Saturday, March 13, 2010, uniformed police officers, assigned to the patrol the Fashion District in downtown Los Angeles noticed Plumamena assembling animal cages on the sidewalk along the 1200 block of Wall Street.  The sale of animals on the sidewalk is illegal by city ordinance and state law.  

The officers arrested Plumamena initially based on a city ordinance of illegal street sales, but when city animal services officers evaluated the caged animals it was apparent they were malnourished, and the cramped, caged conditions constituted animal cruelty.

“The biggest concern here is for the animals’ welfare and how they are treated,” Lt. Vernon explained.  “But humans’ health and safety is also a concern because these animals can pass on disease.”  

Police warn the public not to buy animals off the street in such open air markets.  Tropical water turtles, especially, are known to be carriers of salmonella.  Most animals purchased off the street tend to be in poor health and often do not survive more than a week with their new owners.

“Patronizing these animal traffickers only encourages them to sell more animals,” Lt. Vernon added.

Police encourage the public to report illegal sales of animals to their local animal services department or the local police.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

Photographs of the animals seized are available from Media Relations Section.