Fashion Store Owner Responds to Illegal Items Allegations

An owner of a fashion store in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood cited Thursday for selling illegal items made from protected animals said today she is an animal lover not a poacher after she was.

“We are hardly poachers,” Decades of Fashion owner Cicely Hansen said. “I can’t tell you how upsetting this is.”

California Fish and Wildlife Department investigators executed a search warrant at 11 a.m. Thursday at the store at 1653 Haight St., Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan said.

Decades of Fashion sells vintage clothing with styles from ranging from Victorian times to the 1980s and specializing in 1920s Flapper dresses, according to the store’s website.

Hansen said investigators searched her private collection in the store’s basement and those items were not for sale or even had price tags on them.

“That’s true,” Hughan said. But he said the search warrant allows investigators to search the entire premises.

Hansen said investigators took things she had no idea were considered illegal, such as an item made from skunk.

Hansen argued that items in her store were made 50 years ago when laws were different.

“No malicious intent here,” Hansen said.

She said church groups bring her items they want to sell to raise money for people in need.

Hughan said people are allowed to possess anything, such as something they got from their mother or grandmother. But people cannot sell it because the sales create a market for illegal items.

“As a business person, she’s responsible for knowing what’s legal and what’s not,” Hughan said.

Hughan said the department took several dozen items from the store and some items may be returned if investigators determine the items were not illegal.

Fish and Wildlife investigators may turn the case over to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, which could file charges against the store.

Hughan said it’s unlikely anyone will go to jail, but the store could face thousands of dollars in fines.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

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