Owner vintage clothing store charged with nine counts of selling items made from endangered species

Vintage Snow Lepoard Coat (circa 1945 Shanghai) [stock photo]

The owner of a vintage clothing store on Haight Street in San Francisco was charged last Wednesday with nine counts related to selling items made of endangered species, including jaguar and snow leopard skins, the SFGate reported last Thursday.

Cicely Ann Hansen, proprietor of Decades of Fashion on Haight and Belvedere streets, was charged with nine misdemeanor counts of illegal possession for sale of an endangered species, according to the San Francisco district attorney’s office.

Hansen billed herself a “fashion historian” since the age of 5, saying that her focus was on the “preservation” of the clothing.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said traffickers of endangered species “must be held accountable” to wipe out the market for items made with them. “There’s no second chance once those animals are gone,” Gascón said.

Hansen said she was “smeared” when a tip from an anonymous informant prompted investigators in early February 2016 to conduct a sting operation at the shop, which opened in 2005, trying on a $4,500 jaguar coat and an ocelot coat listed for $850, prosecutors said.

Agents from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife executed a search warrant on the shop.

Inside, officers seized more than 150 articles of illicit clothing including garments and accessories made of sea turtles, pythons, snow leopards and other endangered species that Hansen said were decades old.

Hansen, who has been in the vintage clothing business since 1968, said she was unaware of a law that prohibits the sale, but not the possession, of articles made with endangered species, saying no one had told her. She said she didn’t realize she was breaking the law, even if she doesn’t agree with it.

A vegetarian who would rather “die before I’d kill an animal,” Hansen said many of the 150 items seized were for her personal use, but were stored in the shop’s basement.

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