LOS ANGELES—46-year-old Demetrio Plumamena was arrested on Saturday, March 13, for illegally selling more than 100 animals on a downtown Los Angeles street.
Officers patrolling the city’s Fashion District caught Plumamena assembling the animals’ cages along the 1200 block of Wall Street, and soon discovered 121 animals including miniature rabbits, turtles, iguanas and one parrot.
After Plumamena’s arrest, the animals were brought to the Department of Animal Services.
While selling animals on the street is prohibited by city ordinance and state law, Lt. Paul Vernon, Commanding Officer of the Central Detective Division, said, “The illegal sales of animals is a perennial problem in the Fashion District, especially as certain holidays approach, like Easter.”
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers initially arrested Plumamena based on the city’s ordinance of illegal street sales; however, when service authorities evaluated the animals, who were cramped in small cages, it was obvious that they were malnourished and in poor condition.
Vernon stated that although the animals’ welfare holds a big priority to them, a person’s health and safety is also a concern. “These animals can pass on a disease,” he said.
In an effort to eliminate animals being sold on the street, officials have warned the public not to buy them. Their care and health is poorly managed, and they often don’t live for more than a week. Such animals, including tropical water turtles, are known to carry salmonella.
Along with the Department of Animal Services, authorities encourage everyone to report the illegal sale of animals by calling their local animal service or police department.