SAN FRANCISCO—The owner of a vintage clothing store in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood was arrested on March 1, for selling products made from the body parts of endangered animals.
Cicely Hansen, 68, the owner Decades of Fashion located at 1653 Haight Street; the establishment whose signature attire consists of pieces from the Victorian Era. Hansen made an appearance in court at the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, March 22, where she faced nine misdemeanor counts of possession for sale of endangered species.
On February 16, 2016, investigators began inquiring into the claim of an anonymous tipster who informed them of Hansen’s illicit animal products. Two officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife pretended to be store customers and tried on both an ocelot coat worth $800 and a jaguar coat worth $4,500.
On February 25, 2016, federal and state wildlife authorities with a search warrant found more than 150 items made from the remains of endangered mammals and reptiles. These included attire and accessories made from the fur and skins of leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, and ocelots, as well as sea turtles, seals, and pythons.
Hansen stated in court on Wednesday that that she was unaware of a law change in 2016 which prohibits the selling of products made from endangered animals.
San Frnacisco District Attorney George Gascón stated that “Individuals who traffic in these goods must be held accountable to eliminate a market that contributes to these species’ demise. There’s no second chance once these animals are gone.”
Prosecutors have stated that the act of owning endangered animal products is a crime regardless of whether or not the owner intends to sell the items. Hansen’s next court date has been scheduled for April 17.
SFBayWildlife.info provides a list of rare and endangered animals of the San Francisco Bay Area.