OK, this one baffles me.
The USDA sent a letter to the Dollarhites letting them off the hook for any and all fines, as long as the Dollarhites refrain from breeding animals for sale as pets. The Dollarhites got out of the baby bunny business in 2010, so this shouldn’t be a problem. They won’t have to pay one single penny in fines, so I don’t know how this can be a problem. However they, and a tiny assortment of Tea Party members, including a writer for the site, Big Government, are unhappy with the result.
Not only are they unhappy, but they seem to be personally targeting the USDA employee who sent the Dollarhites a letter.
I am assuming that the lawyer the Dollarhites hired has enough sense to know to grab the offer. I wouldn’t be unhappy, though, if the Dollarhites rejected the offer and the complaint went in front of a judge. A judge who, I want to add, is going to be peeved that they wasted his or her time by fighting an offer that basically lets them off without any penalties. No penalties, even though they violated the law for years by selling hundreds of rabbits as pets without the proper license and required animal care inspections.
Let’s say I doubt the Dollarhites would get off as easily.
It’s unfortunate, though, that a USDA employee was targeted just for doing her job. It’s also unfortunate that Senator McCaskill would seek to placate such unreasoning and, yes, scary people.
I realize that selling baby bunnies may not seem to be the same as selling puppies, but the USDA is chartered to care for all large scale pet sales in the country. Rabbits deserve a decent life, too.
The USDA responded to my FOIA request for materials related to the Dollarhite case with a note that they’ll need an extension of time. When I do receive the materials, I’ll post an update with copies.