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The Mission of Bunny World Foundation (BWF) is to rescue neglected, abandoned domestic baby rabbits, to provide them with medical care, and to find permanent, loving homes for them. We also wish to educate the public about the proper care of these intelligent, social, complex, loving and magical animals, to help reduce rabbit overpopulation and abandonment, and to eradicate the illegal sales of under aged baby bunnies in Santee Alley and other parts of Los Angeles before expanding our mission globally.
Take a walk down Santee Alley, the garment district of downtown Los Angeles, and you will unveil horrors of the seemingly innocent animal trade. "They" are breeding them under the worst possible conditions, and discarding their mothers after they are unable to "produce" any more. Snake food? Bulldog training? Gift for a laboratory testing? Food? We don't know, but what we do know is that the babies are supposed to stay with their mothers for at least 8 weeks. Instead, "They" snatch them when they are 8 - 10 days old, eyes closed, chances of survival minimal, and sell them in Santee Alley for a pittance as "pets." "They" feed the babies lettuce and carrots which gives them diarrhea and, after hours of seizures, causes a slow and painful death. During the summer, babies are put in miserable bird cages, dehydrated, starved and kept in filthy conditions. During the winter, they freeze and die before they even reach the shelter. These babies are being sold as pets for children. Those who buy them typically end up with a dead bunny the next day.
At times, the LAPD impound the animals, chase "Them" away and call animal control to pick them up. Since "They" are not penalized, "They" come back the next day and it's the same atrocity all over again. The LA Fashion BID (Business Improvement District) trucks come and pick up the animals (bunnies, birds, turtles, etc.) take them to their field office, and keep them there for LA Animal Control to pick up. In the past, once the animals were taken to "safety" at the North LA Animal shelter, they were euthanized the very same day they were "rescued." However, since June 15th, 2008, BTW has been in the trenches with LA Fashion BID staff fighting against this problem. Not only have we brought the attention of the authorities to this illegal and cruel activity, but we have also begun rescuing these bunnies so that they are not sent to a certain death through LA Animal Control. Once rescued, we pick them up, de-worm them, de-flea them, give them medicine and wean them for two months until they are strong enough to live on hay, veggies and pellets. Then we look for good homes where they can live happy and safe.
While the LAPD consider this atrocious act a simple misdemeanor, we think of it as animal cruelty. Not only is this an issue of animal cruelty, but it is an issue of public health and safety. The CDC warns against catching salmonella from turtles that can also spread other diseases, such as TB, chlamydiosis, arizonosis, and colibacillosis. The sale of turtles smaller than 4 inches has been banned since 1975; but this doesn't stop "Them" from selling those babies. IT IS A HEALTH ISSUE, AN ANIMAL CRUELTY ISSUE, A TAXPAYER ISSUE.
Common sense tells us that this "revelation" would bring about a concerted effort by the city and County, but the LAPD claim that they are unable to stop this cruelty. Our emails with the City of LA are answered but not acted upon. They tell us how difficult it is to increase the fines, how difficult it is to stop the vendors, how difficult it is to change the law and how difficult it is to consider this act of animal cruelty a crime - not misdemeanor. We have written to the District Attorney's Office, the Mayor's Office and the Governor, but we were ignored! We even risked our lives to take photos of the criminals and supply them to LAPD. Fifty photos and a video have been supplied to the LAPD but they still haven't processed a police report, let alone prosecute these vendors.
In June of 2008, our Founder, Lejla Hadzimuratovic, almost lost her life by confronting these vendors... [click on news] but no one cared. Even PETA, which originally sent her there as a volunteer, washed their hands of this case, and advised her that these animals should be euthanized and that they were "sorry" that she was attacked. Los Angeles Downtown News published a story by Anna Scott, who ironically captured the very same vendors' faces on her camera who were still standing on the very same corner and selling more bunnies, salmonella-infected turtles and little birds.
As of today, "They" are untouchable. "Their" photos sit on LAPD's desk. "They" rule the streets of LA and no one wants / dares to stop this cruelty. PLEASE HELP US PUT A STOP TO THE CRUEL AND ILLEGAL SALES OF ANIMALS AT SANTEE ALLEY! Write a letter to your local representative and say that you care.
- Lejla Hadzimuratovic
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