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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Pet Shop Owner Jailed on Cruelty Charges

March 15, 2000

SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES — A pet shop owner was in jail Tuesday on suspicion of illegally operating a store where sick animals were kept in overcrowded conditions.

Vorasingh Vonguaiboon, 29, the owner of Gina's Pets at 1600 W. Slauson Blvd., is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Van Nuys Superior Court on 15 counts of animal cruelty, neglect, operating without a license and possession of undersized turtles.

He faces a maximum penalty of 9 1/2 years in jail and $91,000 in fines, said Los Angeles Deputy City Atty. Don Cocek.

Vonguaiboon was arrested Thursday after city inspectors found hundreds of young turtles stuffed into burlap sacks and packing boxes and decomposing animal parts in an aquarium.

As far back as August, 1998, Vonguaiboon had been ordered by animal regulation officials to stop operating the pet shop, where animals have been found living without proper food, water or ventilation, Cocek said.

In November, 1998, animal regulation inspectors said they found that nearly 90% of the animals in the shop--including scorpions, snakes, lizards, fish, salamanders, mice, birds and hamsters--were sick or dying.

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