By the Left Coast Rebel
Where did we go wrong as a freedom-loving people? When did our slide into tyranny and socialism truly start? What can we do to get our cherished freedoms back?
A family business story in Missouris at Bungalow Bill's Conservative Wisdom reminds us of what is going on in this country, the damage that our own government inflicts upon us and just what is at stake if we don't repeal our illegitimate Leviathan.
John Dollarhite and his wife wanted to teach their young son responsibility. So they bought him some rabbits to raise in hopes he would learn the value of a dollar. Soon the child was selling bunnies for Easter and other occasions. As word spread across Southwest Missouri about the child’s bunny business, Dollarvalue Rabbitry soon earned some big accounts. Soon they were selling bunnies to Branson theme park Silver Dollar City and the Springfield Petland near the Battlefield Mall all within the state of Missouri.
Never once did they cross the Missouri state line to sell a bunny. Their business was carefully conducted within their home of Missouri. They made sure they met state laws, keeping their bunnies in clean cages that met all the requirements, so when the USDA showed up at their front door step wanting to do an inspection, they were a little more than surprised. They had nothing to hide or any reason to fear they were doing anything wrong.
The USDA was inspecting the petting zoo at Silver Dollar City when it came across invoices from the small bunny farm in Nixa, Dollarvalue Rabbitry. These invoices brought the feds to the front door steps of the Dollarhite’s in the fall of 2009. They immediately complied allowing the federal government agent to inspect their cages and didn’t see the need to worry. Things would soon turn for the worse. After being taken to the back where the rabbits were raised, the USDA began running the width of her finger across the cage and told the Dollarhites they would need to replace the cage because it was a quarter inch too small and didn’t meet federal regulations. The Dollarhites had just invested in new cages to ensure the bunnies had a healthy amount of space to develop. Cages stated to be for “large breed rabbits”, yet they were raising dwarf breed varieties, which require even less space.
The USDA agent also noted a small rust spot on a feeder, citing that it wasn’t in compliance. They responded noting the rabbits urine cause cages to rust and they work hard to keep the rabbits cages in top shape. It didn’t matter, the USDA agent cited the less than an inch area of the cage as an infraction.
The Dollarhites didn’t hear from the USDA again until January 2010. At that time an USDA Animal and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) began investigating pet shops in town. The agent arrived at the Petland store in Springfied, which doesn’t fall under USDA jurisdiction according to the manager, and began demanding seeing records for the Dollarhites rabbits. The manager called the Dollarhites stating a USDA investigator had come into his store demanding to see any records regarding Dolllarvalue Rabbitry. After consulting with their corporate attorney, the store manager complied.
In January of 2010 the Dollarhites received a call from a USDA agent demanding a face to face meeting and advised they bring their attorney. An hour prior to their scheduled meeting, Mrs. Dollarhite observed the agent parked in an adjacent parking lot observing them conduct business at their computer store. Upon his arrival, the Dollarhites soon learned the APHIS agent was trespassing on their property performing his investigation without their knowledge while they were at work and he claimed he had interviewed their neighbors as well. The agent told the Dollarhites that he was not there to interpret, enforce, or explain the law but was just there conducting an investigation. Mrs. Dollarhite asked about whether or not the rabbit business needed to be certified by the USDA. The APHIS agent told her he wasn’t there to advise her one way or another. The Dollarhites asked if they totally shut down their rabbitry if that would satify the USDA and he refused to comment, other than stating “it might look better if you did, but I’m not advising you to do that,” He left stating to them they would be notified in four to six weeks with the results of the investigation.
The Dollarhites didn’t hear back from the USDA. They did make a call from the USDA, which Mrs. Dollarhite claims they were told the USDA was going to make an example out of them. It would be 16 months before they heard anything else from the USDA.
In April 2011, they received certified mail from the USDA. The certified letter informed them they were charged with a $90,643 fine.
Please pass this along to friends and family in order to make this go viral and apply needed pressure on the USDA.