Rabbit Warfare: Family Refuses to Pay Government $90,463 Fine, with Penalties Up to $4 Million, for Selling Too Many Bunnies, Is Fighting Back
Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on May 25, 2011
Last week, I wrote about a family in Missouri that unknowingly sold “too many bunnies” and is now facing outrageous government fines to that USDA that could exceed $4 million.
This story, originally posted by the tenacious conservative blogger Bob McCarty, has exploded throughout the blogosphere like… like the inevitable offspring of hormonally driven bunnies in springtime. It’s been one of the most-read posts here this past week, and likely on other blogs.
Good news: the Dollarhite family is fighting back.
Fighting against the tyranny.
Bob McCarty at Big Government provides a thorough update, Family Refuses to Pay $90K Fine for Selling Rabbits:
Paying a USDA fine of $90,463 by close of business Monday would have allowed John and Judy Dollarhite on Nixa, Mo., to put their “crime” of selling too many rabbits in a single calendar year in their proverbial “rear-view mirror.” Instead of paying an exorbitant fine for violating an obscure USDA regulation (not a law), the couple whose plight was highlighted on BigGovernment.com May 20 decided to fight back.
For the details and links on legal council getting involved and the attention this story has gotten with officials, read about it here on Big Government.
Recap from The Daily Caller:
It started out as a hobby, a way for the Dollarhite family in Nixa, Mo., to teach a teenage son responsibility. Like a lemonade stand.
But now, selling a few hundred rabbits over two years has provoked the heavy hand of the federal government to the tune of a $90,643 fine. The fine was levied more than a year after authorities contacted family members, prompting them to immediately halt their part-time business and liquidate their equipment.
The Dollarhite’s story, originally picked up by conservative blogger Bob McCarty, has turned into a call to arms for critics of the government’s reach and now has both Democratic and Republican lawmakers vowing to intervene.
John and Judy Dollarhite began selling rabbit meat by the pound in 2006, and as pets to neighbors and friends in 2008.
From Wichita Observer, USDA fines family four million dollars for selling bunny rabbits:
(NaturalNews) 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.