The Tail End Of an Illegal Fur Case

The owner of Haight’s Decades of Fashion received three years’ probation for the sale of items made from endangered species.

Cicely Hansen, owner of Decades of Fashion, assembles an outfit for a customer on March 22, 2017. (Steven Ho/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Locals and tourists alike encountered an odd sight in Upper Haight on Feb. 25, 2016, when officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife raided a well-known vintage store. The reason: a tip from a disgruntled former employee, who claimed owner Cicely Hansen was selling fur items from endangered animals at her shop, Decades of Fashion. The raid was successful, with more than 150 items seized, including some made from jaguars, ocelots, snow leopards, and endangered sea turtles.

Hansen on Monday pleaded no contest to two counts of illegal possession and received three years’ probation. But she’s been indignant about the whole fiasco, accusing the District Attorney’s Office of slandering her.

“It’s not like I’m a poacher,” she says. “What I actually am is a fashion historian. I’ve owned most of those pieces for 50 to 60 years, and some of them are more than 100 years old.”

Barring any additional violations, the ruling ends the odd series of events. And while Hansen refuses to admit guilt, Max Szabo, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, says she forfeited her chance to fight the charges.

“These creatures don’t have a second chance, and once they’re gone, they’re gone,” he says.

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