Sunday, May 22, 2011

USDA fines family four million dollars for selling bunny rabbits

Wiki Photo
Ethan A. Huff
Natural News

When the Dollarhite family of Nixa, Mo., first started raising and selling bunnies as part of a lesson to teach their teenage son about responsibility and hard work, they had no idea they would eventually meet the heavy hand of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to a recent article covered in Breitbart's Big Government, the USDA recently ordered the Dollarhite family to pay more than $90,000 in fines because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a year -- and if they fail to pay the fine by Monday, May 23, the fine will multiply to nearly $4 million.

It all started back in 2006 when John Dollarhite and his wife Judy rescued two rabbits that ended up breeding. The family cared for and raised the new rabbits, and eventually began to sell them to neighbors, friends, and others for $10 or $15 each. Having started by first selling the animals for meat, and later for show, the Dollarhites carefully and humanely raised the small creatures on their three-acre homestead, all while teaching their son honest values in a business environment similar to running a small lemonade stand.

Eventually, the Dollarhites developed such a highly-respected reputation across Missouri that the popular Branson, Mo., theme park Silver Dollar City, and even a local pet store, Petland, began purchasing bunnies from the family in 2009. And according to John, individuals from both Silver Dollar City and Petland, as well as a rabbit competition judge, told him that the family's bunnies were among the best they had ever seen -- healthy, beautiful, and very well-cared for.


All seemed well until a USDA inspector showed up at the family's home in the fall of 2009, and asked to do a "spot inspection" of the rabbitry. The inspector made no indication that anything was amiss, but only that she wished to see the facility. After meandering the premises, the inspector claimed that a few very insignificant aspects of the raising facility were in violation of USDA standards, even though the Dollarhites were not USDA certified, nor were they required to be. She then asked if the Dollarhites wished to be part of the voluntary USDA certification system, upon which they told her they would look into it.

After the inspector left, the Dollarhites heard nothing more from the USDA until January 2010 when a Kansas City-based USDA inspector called the family and said he needed to have a meeting with them because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a single year. When the Dollarhites asked why this was a problem and what law this violated, the man refused to offer an explanation over the phone.

Upon meeting in person, the inspector said he was only there to investigate the rabbitry and take notes for a report, upon which he instructed the family to contact another USDA office if they failed to hear anything further from the USDA after six weeks. As the eighth week arrived without any communication, John called the office and was redirected to the Washington, DC, office where a lady shockingly and bluntly explained to him that she had his report, and that the USDA planned to prosecute him and his family "to the maximum that we can" in order to "make an example" out of him.

Shortly thereafter, the Dollarhites received a letter from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ordering them to pay a fine of $90,643 for supposedly violating a mystery law that prohibits the selling of more then $500 in rabbits within a year, even though the Dollarhites were in full accordance with Missouri state law, did not sell their rabbits across state lines, and raised their rabbits humanely and in excess of minimum requirements. The letter outlined that the Dollarhites had until May 23 to pay the exorbitant fine, or else face additional fines totaling nearly $4 million -- all for selling about $4,600 worth of rabbits that netted the family a mere $200 in profits.

The whole scenario proves, once again, that the USDA is nothing more than a tag-team terrorist duo with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both agencies' insatiable lust for power and control over private affairs is never satisfied, as they continue to prowl around like bloodthirsty predators seeking whoever and whatever they can devour. When will Americans finally stand up to their tyranny and say enough is enough?

To read the full account of the Dollarhite saga, visit:
http://biggovernment.com/bmccarty/2...

To contact the APHIS division of the USDA responsible for this mess and express your thoughts on the matter, write, call, or email:
USDA/APHIS/AC
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234
ace@aphis.usda.gov
(301) 734-4978

You can also read a follow-up to the original story that includes a response from the USDA here:
http://bobmccarty.com/2011/05/19/us...

RELATED ARTICLE:



BE THE CHANGE! PLEASE SHARE THIS USING THE TOOLS BELOW


If you enjoy our work, please donate to keep our website going.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this the USDA is not unlike the AZ SWAT team, who murdered that Iraq vet in cold blood,

I fear that the family will have their property seized.
Don't you just love the fact that old-fashioned values of teaching teens hard work and self-sufficiency get sucker-punched by examples such as this?
I guess the Feds would rather see the kid become a McDonald's slave-where we all know the chicken & burgers there did not come from humanely produced farms.

Anonymous said...

I hope they are got a good lawyer. ACLJ: American Center For Law & Justice needs to get involved in this one. Brutish beasts. These non-judicial workers via regulation have way too much power.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I wouldn't believe everything the original articles says. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) has been in existance for a VERY long time. Since both the petting zoo AND the pet store are ALSO in violation for having purchased large amounts from an UN-licensed vendor, you'd think they would have said something to the Dollarhites. Likewise, they would have had a clue just from the form that had to be filled out with every sale to them! Come on, people... that article is VERY slanted and opinionated! They'll have a hard time convincing the judge that they really DIDN'T know (unlikely), and that the investigator didn't tell them, either (also unlikely).

Anonymous said...

They need a good lawyer and I hope they find one. They and all Americans need to tell the gestapo USDA to go F*ck themselves.

Anonymous said...

Regardless there are too many regulations on every facet of life. If your not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't be brought down with this kind of shit. People often use the drunk driving ruins families saying, I think the new one should be excessive regulating destroys families.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a bunny mill. No sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a very sad, very terrifying made-up story!

Jamie McCarthy said...

Anyone who is making profit from selling rabbits is treating them inhumanely. Period.

Proper housing and care costs money. I've been the rescue worker called in to clean up and take care of the dozens of abused, filthy animals in the breeder's backyard hutch after animal control was called. That breeder was respected in "rabbit competitions" too, because nobody sees inside the closed hutch where the other 50 are kept.

Rabbits are curious, clever creatures. They have personalities. They play games with each other in open spaces. I've no sympathy at all for someone who crammed them together in wire cages to take in $4,600 in revenue.

At "$10 or $15 each" that would be between 300 and 450 rabbits. "Similar to a small lemonade stand"? They "carefully and humanely raised" rabbits that collectively weighed more than my car? Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Wow, really? No wonder no one listens to activists with the way they slant their stories.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! I hope they end up having to pay the $4 Mio!!

Anonymous said...

Jami McCarthy is an idiot. Raising animals to sell so they can be cared for (as they ended up doing) is the opposite of inhumane. Let's let the bunnies go and be slaughtered by stray dogs and cats, or cayotes. That sure is humane!

I guess you missed the part where they only made a profit of $200 out of over 4 grand in sales. That means almost every penny made went into their care.

And unless you got a micro car it weighs more than the combined number in rabbits (a lot more) and it was done over a period of 5 or so years.

The two idiots above me think Jamie is talking about this place. Nope, he/she is talking about something unrelated to bolster his/her slant.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of ones time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed (and subsequently used) and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

-HL Mencken

Anonymous said...

Since when is Breitbart a credible news source?

Anonymous said...

Food Inc. explains it all.

Anonymous said...

“Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato” (everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state).

"What is not explicitly permitted is strictly forbidden. For many Russians, “freedom” only means knowing the difference."

"The occupying forces have no fixed system. You can never know what is forbidden and what is allowed. In a word – one day they are lenient and one day severe. It is understandable: Where the heart is harsh and cruel there is no set and fixed system. And, in addition, what one authority permits, the other forbids."

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk is sure cheap these days. Here we have a government entity blatantly abusing its power. We all lamment how awful this situation is but...if even one of us were to raise our hand in defiance, the rest of us would pounce on him like jackals on a wounded buffalo, screaming for 'justice' and begging the 'officials' to burn them at the stake. So, who's pushing your buttons?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully they get a hold of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund for some assistance...

truth seeker said...

This article is full of lies.

The USDA is very clear about rabbit breeding:

"The rabbit business is exempt from regulation if the rabbits are intended only for food or fiber. If any rabbits are designated for use in the pet, exhibit, or laboratory-animal trade, the business is regulated…If you are an owner or the person in charge of a regulated business, the law requires you to be licensed or registered with USDA. Failure to become licensed or registered is a punishable violation of the Animal Welfare Act."

The guy was breeding rabbits, first for food, which does not require USDA licensing. Then he began breeding them as pets, which very clearly does require USDA licensing. He was warned several times that he needed to get a license and he did not, so now when he gets fined he cries and runs to right wing blogs to complain about "big government."

Anonymous said...

Yeah right, they only made $200. I'm pretty sure that amount is false if they were trying to teach their children about business. Now, if they were trying to teach their children how to be total failures at business then this might be the example, hardly make a profit and run afoul of the law. I'm sure they didn't even mention paying taxes on their profit to their young Trump apprentices. The truth is they were running a business and not playing by the rules, so now they must pay by the rules.

Anonymous said...

So why dont all of you government ass lickers explain why the USDA has any right to regulate ANY business what so ever. I dont recall reading about a USDA in my copy of the constitution. The imperial federal government has no business in the farm business.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Anonymous. Who the hell are you people to take the side of the federal government? What is your skin in the game?

Do you thank your lucky constitution that the USDA is there to protect us from bunnies raised without a permit? You are all Nazis.

I'd say there be some government trolls on this story. They follow it around the web and post up nonsense about it being a good thing that the little people are under the thumb of the pigs from USDA.

This is a simple test for you: If you take the side of the people who have all the guns, handcuffs, tasers, jail cells, planes, tanks, drones, badges, warrantless searches, and judges, that makes you a Nazi bootlicker. I hope you burn in this gulag you are cheering for.

Call yourselves "activists"? For what? The feds? "You go federal police agencies!! Now that's what I call progressive!!"

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the negative comments were posted by government lackeys? When in doubt, pounce on a situation with negatives, drown out the injustice with noise. Surely our all-wise benevolent government is protecting us from this evil rabbit-breeder. Nothing to see here, move along...

All you government butt-kissers disgust me...

Anonymous said...

I fear that our government is becoming far too oppressive and restrictive of our individual freedoms for which our forefathers and their sons since them have purchased with rivers of blood. If those freedoms are no longer sacred, we must lose them for ourselves and for our posterity. Once forfeited, they will be impossible to reclaim.

Bugs Bunny said...

Doesn't the USDA have more important things to do than to fine lower class Americans $4 million over a bunch of bunny rabbits!?!?

Why doesn't the parasitic USDA fine Monsanto for poisoning Americans with GMO's, Aspartame and monstrous pesticides???

I think the USDA needs to be put under the microscope and examined for parasitic contamination. Seems logical considering parasites are in charge over there.

What's up doc?

Frank Rizzo said...

Isn't the USDA the same group of people who let/allow sick and dying cows get beat up and pushed around by forklifts and "made" to stand up just so they can be slaughtered for profit? USDA 'approved'? Yes, I'm sure they look at every piece of meat that goes out. Just more corruption.

Anonymous said...

The Repubs and Tea Party activists just love scandalizing our government and watching the ignorant do the bunny hop. Yeah, kept'em stupid and fighting these fake battles while we take all their money. Wake up people!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I had to comment. Bunny mill? Seriously? Have you not heard the expression "breeding like rabbits"? They are naturally very prolific, I suppose you would like them to keep them all on their 3 acres. THAT would be inhumane. Do the math. Each doe has easily 6 babies at least every 6 months...In the wild they would be popping out a litter every two months at least...Oh my. Be educated. And people, don't let the USDA on your property for a "friendly" visit with out an attorney present and a warrant. We all need to learn much...

Anonymous said...

This is only 1/2 the story..they never had a business licence (they do own a computer store, so they know better). they sold rabbit mneat, no health permit. There is no dispute the animals were well cared for. There "fines" were for 0 licences, they sold enough animals to be considered breeders. On 5-31-11 USDA offered to drop all fees/charges if they will stop selling rabbits now and in the future. Before someone says they are being denied their rights, just know they are selling guinea pigs, oh and there is proof they requested licensing info in 2006. We need to save our outrage for people who need and deserve our support

Anonymous said...

They totally deserve whatever happens to them and I am not the least bit sorry for them.

Anonymous said...

For the comment to anonymous who posted against the poster about the bunny mill comment.

If these people were smart, they would have got their rabbits spayed and neutered. A spayed and neutered rabbit can not produce the mass amounts of kits that you're talking about. They did this to make a profit, they cared nothing for the well being of the rabbits once they left their "care" they bred them to make money off them, they don't care about the rabbits or what happens to them as long as they get their money for them. so to say that calling it a bunny mill is wrong, is in fact wrong. "be educated people" is what you said. educate yourself first.

Post a Comment