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$90,643 fine fair for "paperwork" violation?

The Dollarhites, as a lesson in responsibility to their teenage son, began selling rabbit as pets to neighbors and friends in 2008. They profited $200 from this sale of rabbits. (Disgustingly, their main source of income came from selling rabbit meat, but I guess that's besides the point)%0D %0D Raised on the three-acre lot on which their home sits, the rabbits were heralded by local experts for their quality and kept in pristine condition.%0D %0D When a local pet store asked them to supply their pet rabbits, the Dollarhites had no idea they would be running afoul of an obscure federal regulation that prohibits selling more than $500 worth of rabbits to a pet store without a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Under the law, pet stores are exempt from regulation.%0D %0D The Dollarhites faced no accusation they mistreated any animals. Instead, they committed what%E2%80%99s called in regulatory parlance a %E2%80%9Cpaperwork violation%E2%80%9D under the Animal Welfare Act, a 1966 law intended to prevent the abuse of animals. One of the violations was that the cage was one-quarter inch too short. %0D %0D Now, I don't like the fact that they are butchers; however, increasingly, the government is going after mostly innocent citizens, relatively speaking, while avoiding the white collar crime that is destroying our society.%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 5401/29/2013


by Anonymousreply 105/26/2011

So get a fucking license to sell the rabbits. Duh.

by Anonymousreply 205/26/2011

Aw, shucks. Too bad they weren't being raised for use in Easter pageants, then they could have gotten a "for religious purposes" exclusion.

by Anonymousreply 305/26/2011

It amazes me that people can read this and still defend our government.

Imagine is was you who committed some obscure "paperwork" violation and ended up with such a fine. You would have to spend thousands to defend yourself, and you still might lose the case. These kind of violations happen every day, although usually not this egregious. Well, except for the people that get killed by the cops every week because of police incompetence.

by Anonymousreply 405/26/2011

Begone, Freeper McTeaParty. Go infest some other site. We Don't Care.

by Anonymousreply 505/26/2011

What's R5 rambling about?

by Anonymousreply 605/26/2011

Yes, R5--- who is the freeper here?

by Anonymousreply 705/26/2011

Well, R5, have you sniffed out the dirty freeper?

by Anonymousreply 805/26/2011

What does this have to do with freeper?%0D %0D They resurrected some obscure part of the 1966 Animal Welfare Act to go after these people. They're targeting more and more law-abiding citizens everyday. It's unreal. %0D %0D Just to let you know, every single one of you is a potential felon. There are soooooo many laws - and new ones popping up all the time - that it's utterly impossible to know when you are breaking the law.

by Anonymousreply 905/26/2011

These people are raising and selling animals for a profit.

If they start and operate a business they should be responsible for reaserching the rules and regulations pertaining to that business.

by Anonymousreply 1005/26/2011

I've been to government offices where I had to wait a bit and just watch. After a few minutes of observing what they do all-day-long-for-35-40 years (absolutely fucking nothing,) my mind was ready to explode. There are a few simple rules they learn on Day-one, dotted i's and crossed t's mainly, then they just sit there for a few decades. Then retire. Then die.

by Anonymousreply 1105/26/2011

Amen, R11!

These people are parasites and idiots like R10 enable them.

Why do they need a permit? Just to enforce some stupid rule? Where is the harm, R10? Explain your stupidity.

by Anonymousreply 1205/27/2011

Attention Freeper MacTeaparty,

Please take your anti-government fairy stories someplace where anybody cares.

Whoever is paying you to post here is wasting his/her money.

by Anonymousreply 1305/27/2011

Here is a much more detailed explanation of what happened. If the jackbooted government defenders like R13 want to show why this isn't a criminal example of overreach I would love to hear it. They think as long as their guy is in office, everything is just great.

by Anonymousreply 1405/27/2011

So now R14/12/8/7/4 is posting a Breitbart site's account of the tale.%0D %0D Only a troll would come here and use that sort of webpage as support; even the looniest DL regular would know better.

by Anonymousreply 1505/27/2011

OK, here's an article from a liberal site saying the same thing. NY Sen. McClusky, a liberal democrat, is intervening on their behalf and calls it a miscarriage of justice. No one with an ounce of common sense thinks this is right, so why a you defending the idiots who are prosecuting this case?

C'mon R15- don't be a pussy, tell us why this isn't criminal?

by Anonymousreply 1605/27/2011

C'mon, R16/14, etc., don't be a pussy, tell us why you're sucking up to a Breitbart site?%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 1705/27/2011

I don't get what OP's problem is. You repaint your apartment at your own expense and the landlord raises the rent. Why? Because they can. And yet that's even worse than the government doing something like this. Where is your outrage over all the one-sided laws that allow private companies to screw people over?

by Anonymousreply 1805/27/2011

[quote] They're targeting more and more law-abiding citizens everyday.

They're NOT law abiding citizen if they're breaking the law, asswipe.

by Anonymousreply 1905/27/2011

[quote]OK, here's an article from a liberal site saying the same thing%0D %0D R16/14/12, etc., liberal sites don't have positive quotes from the Cato Institute, the National Review, Fox News, etc., on their front page. They don't have links to Michelle Malkin's website, etc.%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 2005/27/2011

What part of their selling rabbits to a local pet store don't you people get? They were engaged in a business pursuit. This wasn't the type of "casual sale" that classically serves as an exemption from licensing laws.

Whether they were netting 5 cents or $5000 makes no difference--they were selling livestock to a commercial enterprise which in turn was selling to the public.

I've been involved with administrative agencies my entire career, and it's been my experience that the FDA doesn't act like this unless they're dealing with scofflaws--people who simply don't get it, think the law doesn't apply to them and proceed to act like idiots. My guess is the Dollarhites also failed to see the wisdom of retaining an attorney to deal with FDA before it reached this stage (you could also say that anyone with any kind of smarts would have called a lawyer before starting to supply the bunnies for money).

What's that they say about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure?

by Anonymousreply 2105/27/2011

I can't believe I'm siding with an attorney, but this is clearly not a case of 'reasonable ignorance'.

I also agree with the dollar amount being suspect. That's not a straight up fine.

I knew someone who sold hamsters to a local pet shop; she never bothered to find out about regulations, *but* she knew she was taking a chance.

These people probably did the same thing, then tried to spin it into a 'New World Order, big government is destroying the little guy' argument.

There are cases of ridiculous government legalism, particularly with the BLM, but this isn't one of them.

by Anonymousreply 2205/27/2011

Wow. I'm glad R21&22 weren't jurors at the Nuremburg trials.

"They were just doing their job!"

by Anonymousreply 2305/27/2011

That wasn't a link to a liberal site dumbass - it's only called Left Coast Rebel - not that it's leftist.

And I agree with R22 - this doesn't seem to ring true. They probably intentionally ignored the warning over and over. Plus, I love how they provide the details of a cage being 1/4 inch too small and that the federal agent being smelly and a Grizzly Adams type.

OP - you're a gullible idiot Republican.

by Anonymousreply 2405/27/2011

Fuck it. I'm going to call out Mr big NJ Attorney for being an ignorant asshole.

By what right does any agency have to interfere with this kind of private transaction? If you dare say "IT'S THE LAW" or "IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN" I will call you out as a fool.

Who was injured, or could have been injured?

Even of the flaunted the law, what harm?

You are just another Tory masquerading as a liberal.

So answer-Why. Was. This. Illegal?

by Anonymousreply 2505/27/2011

This is Tea-Party crap.

This message comes from you from the mindset of the right wing: "We have to government off the backs. If we do that, all this countries financial problems will come to an end."

That's why this case is in the news at this time -- it is a right-wing call to action that goes back at least 30 years.

While Republican lawmakers (mostly Republican) and their media whores talk about how inept government is and how taxes should be lower for the small business owner -- what they actually do is write legislation that will grant tiny amounts of relief to small businesses such the Dolarhites have, or had, and enormous breaks to the very rich.

The real relief the right wants to continue and enhance is handing over billions in tax cuts to the ultra-rich such as Koch, Ray Koch, the Waltons, and the Murdoch family, while giving what the rest of us think of as small businesses -- mom and pop places -- no help whatsoever, and doing it in the same legislation.

This shell game started under Reagan. Remember "Government isn't part of the problem. Government is the problem."?

Remember Reagan's claim that it takes 4000 pages of of federal documents, or 4000 regulations, or 4000 officials, or 4000 something or others to regulate the making of a step ladder?

This is the same bullshit.

The Dollarhites sold rabbits to pet stores. Congress, and this includes the elected Congressmen who represent the Dollarhites, wrote laws that require the USDA to keep track of the way animals headed for pet stores and research labs get treated.

The way the USDA keeps track, the only way it would be possible for any person or agency to do this, is to issue licenses -- otherwise it does not know where its agents should go to see how the animals are being treated. If a place does not have a license, by definition, then no one can check in on the animals.

In doing other routine work, the USDA found out that the Dollarhites were selling to pet stores -- an agent came across some receipts. The USDA sent out an agent, talked to the Dolarhites, and sent them the paperwork they needed to fill out and told them where to send the fees.

The Dollarhites blew them off. At this point a lot of "He said, she said," stuff follows.

The upshot of what the Dollarhites's case means is that when people act the way they did, the USDA cannot do what it is obligated to do by statute: follow up on the way animals are being treated.

You do not piss off Uncle Sugar this way. He does not like it. He really does not like it especially when he just wanted his damn paperwork and a check.

So USDA sent them an offer of settlement. The Dollarhites don't have to accept the offer -- they can go to a hearing and make a case. If what the hearing officer says they don't like, the findings or the fine or both, then they can go to federal court.

It is quite likely that neither the hearing officer nor the federal judge will like the sound of a $93,000 dollar judgment. It may come in way under that. Or not.

But you cannot just blow off the government and then say, "Get the government off our backs, their messing with us!"

That's not fair.

Fair? It's not even rational.

by Anonymousreply 2605/27/2011

Roland, you miss the issue by a mile.

Who was served by the FDA rules? Only the regulators that got paid. No consumer ever benefited. Ever.

by Anonymousreply 2705/27/2011

Because livestock and their sale are regulated by the US government and subject to conditions, including requiring a license to sell said livestock over a certain monetary amount. The family in question did not have a license to do so. Because of that they were breaking the law.

Answer your question, R25? Or are you such an idiot you don't even understand that simple concept?

by Anonymousreply 2805/27/2011

Who fucking cares? This is such freeper bullshit. If you read the story carefully, you can understand why NJ Attorney is right, and all the loons here are wrong.%0D %0D What is amazing is that the same freepers who oppose "government regulation" and weep for bunnies are the same idiots who have no problem with DOMA or restricting a woman's right to an abortion. They get all worked up about bunnies and could care less that gay people are treated like shit.%0D %0D Assholes.

by Anonymousreply 2905/27/2011


Interesting Freudian slip.

What the rest of us have been doing in this thread is discussing the USDA. That's the United States Department of Agriculture.

The regulation of farm animals as well as those raised for pet stores and research labs comes under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture -- the USDA. Get it?

You changed the subject and decided what we also don't need and should be getting rid of is the FDA, an whole different agency.

That's the agency that regulates how, and if Big Pharma, tests what it tries to sell us before we use it. It does that and a lot of other things, many of which you probably owe your life to, one way or another.

You want us to deregulate the FDA out of existence as well -- turn the safety of our medicine over to what -- the current marketing plans of Pfizer/Wyeth?

Because something is going to do the regulating. It is either going to be some agency with a putative position of neutrality or some branch of a multi-national corporation.

As to the USDA, the agents get shit for wages. They earn what they make. Remember Shirley Sherrod? An agricultural agent that the right wing smeared so she lost her job? Is that the kind of worker who is getting over on this country?

How would you like for the animals in our food chain to have zero medical attention -- you want to eat meat and vegetables with zero regard to any disease they might have had or how they might have been treated for it?

Who gets over on the public through the USDA are billionaire farm merchants like Roy Kroc. He sticks the tax payer the bill for corn subsidies to feed his beef so he can sell us hamburgers.

How about him? You want to cut him off the dole? Stop writing regulations that give him billions? Why don't you start with the billionaires and their regulations? Why don't you deregulate them? What have they ever done for you or for us?

Speaking of getting back at the government regulators, you would be all for a non-regulated union movement right?

Get the government off the unions backs and let them have general strikes? Let them stop regulating union locals so the bus drivers can march with the teachers in New York City so public workers can have decent jobs?

Getting rid of the regulators over at the United States Department of Labor who do that scutwork okay with you?

Or is it just the rich and powerful you want to reap the benefits of having no regulators?

by Anonymousreply 3005/27/2011

R25, you know what they say about pointing one finger? The other three are aimed in your direction. People like you make me want to call for passing an intelligence test before someone is awarded the right to vote.

[quote]By what right does any agency have to interfere with this kind of private transaction? If you dare say "IT'S THE LAW" or "IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN" I will call you out as a fool.

No, you're a moron, because this was not a private transaction. The bunnies were sold into what is called "the stream of commerce." This is not like one neighbor selling another a used car--that's a private transaction as well as a casual sale which is rarely subject to licensing requirements.

[quote]Who was injured, or could have been injured?

That's not the issue. R26 explained why, quite eloquently.

[quote]Even of the flaunted the law, what harm?

That's an argument that's relevant to the amount of the fine to be imposed, not whether they broke the law in the first place.

[quote]You are just another Tory masquerading as a liberal.

No, I'm a moderate to liberal Democrat. OTOH, you're living proof that one can not cure stupid, no matter where it's situated on the political spectrum.

[quote]So answer-Why. Was. This. Illegal?

See 7 U.S.C. s. 2133 et seq.

And BTW, I was the one who first slipped up and said "FDA" instead of "USDA". Not Freudian--just had the FDA on the brain due to what I've been working on lately.

by Anonymousreply 3105/28/2011

NJ Attorney:

Thanks for chiming in. Seriously.

I am puzzled by your apparent understanding of the situation on the one hand, and your blowing off the regulators on the other.

The people with their feet on the ground, going around doing the investigative work, surely they deserve what they make?

These USDA regulators -- the farm agents and those who go into pet stores to check if the sources have licenses, they do a whole lot of other stuff -- they reach out to the rural business interests with the latest agricultural research.

Forget about farm subsidies, and Ray Kroc, for a moment.

Anyone on the right or left who takes a moment to learn what the USDA has as its mission and who also understand how that work has to be done to be effective will almost certainly support it.

It really is one aspect of big government that everybody respects once they understand it.

Think of the USDA as being an agency that coordinates agricultural research universities and the farm.

It gets news of the most recent practices out to the farmers from the universities so they can grow better, healthier crops -- they make more money and the food supply is protected at the source.

It also checks the products in the transit from the farm until they get onto the store shelf, again according to recent research in what makes products healthy -- this was the part of the process concerning the rabbits that the USDA monitors.

This precise issue of getting government involved in distributing the best practices out to the farms was a big issue in France and Russia before their revolutions.

Even the most reactionary rulers understood that if their people had better food, they were less likely to riot. But that wasn't the only motive before the revolutions.

There is very big money in farm industry. The major farm interests (the landed-aristocracy -- the royalty) in France and Russia before their revolutions wanted the government to do more and more research and get it out to the farmers.

These old societies understood that only the government could finance such an operation. It is not one of those things that you can do for a profit.

As reactionary as the Ancien Regime and Czarist Russia was, their rulers already were building government agricultural help for the farmers.

What is absolutely infuriating about this sort of dog-whistle politics is how the media uses it to jerk people around and pull them towards right-wing politics.

This happens at the same time that the people on the right at the top of the power heap know, with dead-on certainty, how cynical they are being.

They know they would never, ever surrender government regulation of agriculture -- they make too much money from the process, they sure don't want to pay for it themselves, and it keeps the regime steady, but, nonetheless, to call out the right-wing troops, they trumpet bullshit stories like this one.

by Anonymousreply 3205/28/2011

[quote]I am puzzled by your apparent understanding of the situation on the one hand, and your blowing off the regulators on the other.

I'm not by any means, and I'm surprised you have that impression in view of what I said in my original post (BTW, what I said about the FDA applies to the USDA).

I have respect for regulators because they have a difficult job to do, and most of those I've encountered do it quite well. Federal agency personnel are quite professional, as are the majority of state regulators. It's only at the state level that you might encounter some over-eager beaver who wants to make a political statement by going on a crusade and "making an example" of someone.

by Anonymousreply 3305/28/2011


We are on the same page.

by Anonymousreply 3405/28/2011

Here in Philadelphia, we had a salmonella outbreak that came from turtles, who were sold at stores and street fairs. The Philadelphia Health Department played a major role in stopping the sales of these turtles and get the word out they were the source of the outbreak.

There are frequent complaints and lawsuits about dogs purchased at pet shops -- very ill, mistreated, malformed, etc.

It's useful to know what breeders may be at the root of these problems before they become epidemic and they can be shut down if they are breaking laws or causing harm to the health of animals or the public.

by Anonymousreply 3505/28/2011

Animals with diseases like encephalophathy and ringworm need to be kept out of the animal population and away from humans. That is what the Dept of Ag is for. Their inspectors are doing more than just pulling a paycheck.

By selling to a pet store, the family put its product out to the public. The product needed to be inspected.

It is tempting for all of us to ignore notices we don't like, but it is not wise. Do that with your credit and see where you end up.

And yes, this thread is a freeper-fest. The wailing of "what harm?" has that bullying-yet-victimized freeper tone. And egging people on to break the law because they don't appreciate it waves more red freeper flags than a Kim Jong Il rally. Freeper, bug off.

by Anonymousreply 3605/31/2011

Actually, Roland understands the issue just fine, IMO. Some of you morons need to wake up and smell the coffee.

by Anonymousreply 3705/31/2011

This is the deal. If you don't like a regulation, work to get it changed. But the idea that you can blow something off because you don't feel like dealing with it is not how our country works. If you want anarchy, OP, go to the middle east and help yourself.

by Anonymousreply 3805/31/2011

Remember this one?

It nails the de-regulation, smaller government is good but no-government is better crowd.

by Anonymousreply 3905/31/2011

I think we sniffed out Mr O'TeaParty. Boy, they sure come around a lot lately.

Thank you NJ Attorney.

Roland, not so much. Edit. Edit.

by Anonymousreply 4006/01/2011

Oh, and "Left Coast Rebel" sounds like such a made-up rightwing idea of what a liberal site would call itself.

by Anonymousreply 4106/01/2011


Scroll. Scroll.

by Anonymousreply 4206/03/2011

Ever messed up on an IRS form?

by Anonymousreply 4306/25/2012

Only when I got my rabbit to fill it out.

by Anonymousreply 4406/25/2012

The thing that's so completely retarded about this is that letters like this are intended to scare the shit out of folks so they come into compliance with the law. I can't imagine anyone thought these folks would ever have to pay the full fine. I've helped some businesses get out of trouble with the IRS - as long as you're working with them they'll typically waive most of the fines and interest.

by Anonymousreply 4506/25/2012

Butchers? Rabbit meat is great. Healthy and nutritious and I'm able to raise them humanely. Caribou is great too. Pass on the moose though it's like chewing gum trying to eat that meat.

by Anonymousreply 4606/26/2012

R46, raising healthy and sustainable meat in a humane way on small farms conflicts with the agenda of the big agricultural corporations.

When the government controls every aspect of the system (airlines, electricity, food, health care, water, tolls, etc.) even though it is nominally "privatized" then it is just fascism with a smile.

People like R39 should educate themselves about basic economics before exposing their ignorance.

by Anonymousreply 4706/26/2012

R40, who is "Mr Tea O'Party" and NJ Attorney?

by Anonymousreply 4806/26/2012


by Anonymousreply 4909/01/2012

Hemingway Museum news-

Mr. Hemingway spent most of the 1930s in Key West completing some of his best work. Now, his former house at 907 Whitehead Street is a museum open to daily tours and the occasional wedding.

It also continues to be home to 40 to 50 six-toed cats that are a living legacy of Hemingway. As in Hemingway’s time, the cats are allowed to roam and lounge at will in the house and on the one-acre grounds.

That’s how the federal government became involved.

At some point several years ago, a museum visitor expressed concern about the cats’ care. The visitor took that concern all the way to the US Department of Agriculture and, literally, made a federal case out of it.

Soon USDA inspectors showed up in Key West. They said that if the museum wanted to display cats it needed an exhibitor’s license as required under the federal Animal Welfare Act. (That’s the same law that regulates circuses, zoos, and traveling dog and pony shows.)

Federal officials advised the museum that it also needed to take action to: Confine the cats in individual cages each night, or construct a higher fence around the property, or install an electric wire atop the existing brick wall, or hire a night watchman to keep an eye on the cats.

The museum was ordered to tag each cat for identification, and add additional elevated resting surfaces within the cat’s enclosures.

USDA officials also advised that the museum would face fines for noncompliance...

The museum fought back, asking a federal judge in 2009 to rule that the USDA did not have authority over the Hemingway cats.

A lawyer for the museum told the judge that this was not a federal issue and that there were better-situated agencies in Key West, Monroe County, or the State of Florida to monitor and regulate the care and feeding of cats in Key West.

The judge disagreed. He ruled that the USDA was well within its authority to regulate the cats.

The museum appealed. In a unanimous decision announced on Friday, the three-judge panel agreed that the USDA does, in fact, have the necessary authority to regulate the Hemingway cats.

The court said the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) has been broadly interpreted by federal officials to authorize  regulation of any exhibit of animals that are made available to the public.

The appeals court also concluded this broad interpretation of the AWA to extend to the regulation of cats in a museum did not exceed Congress’s power to authorize such federal regulations under the Commerce Clause.

The question, the court said, was whether the Hemingway cats “substantially affect” interstate commerce.

The judges said they do. . . .

by Anonymousreply 5012/12/2012

So big bad regulators are the problem? On the contrary, where fines are excessive or regulations onerous, they have been requested by industry in order to prevent ordinary people from competing with industry. It's not a question of regulation, it's a question of government for existing business and against new entrants. Duh. Republicans wouldn't get rid of this kind of regulation. On the contrary, they would extend this to many more fields.

by Anonymousreply 5112/13/2012

"where fines are excessive or regulations onerous, they have been requested by industry in order to prevent ordinary people from competing with industry. It's not a question of regulation"

You get it! Both parties support these excessive regulations because it keeps the little guys from competing!

Now, can you take the red pill...

by Anonymousreply 5212/13/2012

Anyone who believes this is foolish.

by Anonymousreply 5301/29/2013

Anyone who believes anything from you would indeed be foolish. Tell us again how gold is going to climb to $20,000 an ounce and the economy is going to engage in a massive meltdown and we're going to see massive hyperinflation...

by Anonymousreply 5401/29/2013
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