Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family fined $90k, sold rabbits without a license

Missouri - It started out as a hobby, a way for the Dollarhite family in Dixa, 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. By by selling to pet stores for resale, the humble Dollarhites became wholesale breeders of pet animals, said Dave Sacks, a spokesman for USDA who defended the fine, even while admitting it looks curious to the average person. That’s especially so since the Dollarhites face no accusation they mistreated any animals. Instead, they committed what’s called in regulatory parlance a paperwork violation under the Animal Welfare Act, a 1966 law intended to prevent the abuse of animals.  More