spcaLA calls for public’s help in Rolling Hills Estates animal cruelty investigation


Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) urges individuals with information about the deaths of more than 40 peafowl in Rolling Hills Estates since 2012 to come forward.

spcaLA’s investigation determined some peafowl to have been accidentally killed, while other deaths were intentional.  Since June 2012, peafowl have been killed by pellets or BBs (12 birds), vehicles (15 birds), blunt force trauma (one bird), unknown poison (five birds), crossbow arrow (one bird), wildlife attack (one bird), gunshot (1 bird) and eleven by unknown means.

Initial exams of two dead birds found over the May 3rd weekend pointed to a possible buckshot (shotgun) wound as cause of death.

“Peafowl in many areas of Southern California are seen as pests.  But, it doesn’t matter if you think an animal is a pain or a pet, maliciously injuring or killing an animal is criminal, ” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein.  “spcaLA will continue to  investigate and prosecute animal cruelty offenders, whether their victims are the family dog, a circus elephant, a peacock, or any other animal.”

Consequences of taking malicious action against any wild or domesticated animal – including peacocks and peahens – can include felony animal cruelty charges, the conviction of which can lead to imprisonment, $20,000 in fines, both, and additional consequences.

“spcaLA is employing all investigative tools at our disposal, including DNA, fingerprint, surveillance camera analysis, and necropsy, to discover the perpetrator or perpetrators of these crimes,” Director of spcaLA Animal Protection Services Lieutenant Cesar Perea said. “spcaLA is working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control’s Major Case Unit to further the investigation.”

Individuals with information regarding these crimes are urged to call the spcaLA Cruelty Tipline at 1-800-540-SPCA (7722).

The dead birds have been found in the vicinity of Dapplegray Lane in Rolling Hills Estates. On Tuesday, spcaLA attended the Dapplegray Lane Property Owners Association meeting to brief residents about the consequences of animal cruelty, the numbers of birds found, and how to report animal cruelty. Area residents want the cruelty to end, and welcomed information about how they could effect the change.

spcaLA incorporated in 1877 to enforce California’s first animal cruelty statute. Today, spcaLA will continue to investigate animal cruelty and prosecute offenders, including those who intentionally maim, mutilate, torture or wound a living peacock or peahen, or who maliciously and intentionally kill peafowl, as pursuant to California Penal Code Section 597.

For more information please contact Ana Bustilloz at 323-730-5300 or by email at abustilloz@spcaLA.com.

About spcaLA?Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, or spcaLA, is an independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California since 1877.  There is no national SPCA, parent organization, or umbrella group that provides financial support to spcaLA.  Donations run programs and services including Cruelty Investigation, Disaster Animal Response Team, Humane Education, and a variety of shelter services.