John and Judy Dollarhite, a couple from Nixa, MO faced an unthinkable attack from the USDA, when in 2009 they got a surprise visit to their home from an inspector from the federal government. The Dollarhite family was even more shocked when they were informed by an investigator from the USDA that they were in violation of a guideline and would face fines of close to 4 million dollars. The agents cited the fact that the couple had sold more than $500 worth of rabbits without obtaining a USDA permit, and could face a $10,000 fine per bunny. The USDA never disputed the fact that the rabbits were completely healthy, well cared for and had more than adequate living conditions.
Thankfully, the former owners of the Dollarvalue Rabbitry, a venture which stemmed from their teenage son’s school project, are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. The incident, which is outrageous even to those who embrace overbearing government regulation, has finally come to end.
Yesterday, the Dollarhites posted the following announcement:
“We have a signed settlement with USDA. It isn’t everything we had hoped for because there wasn’t an apology included for all the nightmares we have endured these several months. There is no fine. They stipulated a 2 year ban on obtaining a USDA license, which we never wanted, nor can I ever envision us wanting anything to do with USDA. ….”
The victory comes after lawsuit launched by the couple which was funded in part by donations. But it was largely due to public outcry which placed pressure on elected representatives that put an end to the madness. Activists and liberty lovers rallied around the Dollarhite family and sent a message to the system.
Conservative blogger, Clay Bowler, author of Bungalow Bill’s Conservative Wisdom broke the story and it was eventually picked up by several national media outlets.
I had the pleasure of meeting John Dollarhite. He is a good man and certainly undeserving of being treated like a criminal. I am pleased to know that we live in a country still free enough that we have the ability to be our own media, and expose a government abuse of this magnitude.