I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that the USDA appears to be caving when it comes to the matter of “Chasing Rabbits,” the name I’ve given to the case of the USDA assessing John and Judy Dollarhite a fine of $90,643 because the Nixa, Mo., couple sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a calendar year.
I base that conclusion on the fact that I just received the following e-mail from USDA/APHIS Spokesperson Dave Sacks:
Hello Mr. McCarty
Here is one final statement I can offer, in the event you write any follow-up stories.
We are working out an alternative to the $90K fine and plan to reach out to Mr. Dollarhite over the next week to discuss. We are hopeful he’ll be amenable to discussing it with us and let us visit his facility as we work the issue out.
When I contacted John Dollarhite to find out if he was aware of the “alternative,” he said he was aware and has actually received some helpful assistance from staffers at the office of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Perhaps, that’s what prompted the arrival of the USDA spokesperson’s timely email.
In addition, Dollarhite said that he learned via conversations with Senator Blunt’s staffers and others that the USDA’s offices in Washington, D.C., had been flooded with phone calls from across the country about his case during the past few days.
Perhaps, the anti-tyranny protest set for Wednesday in Ozark, Mo. will be more of a party and show of force than a protest. Let’s hope so!
“Don’t declare victory yet,” wrote Paul Hamby, co-coordinator for the Campaign For Liberty in Missouri, in an email Tuesday. “If a thug steals your car and then calls you to sit down and work out the terms of returning it to you, is that a victory?”
More to come.
UPDATE 5/25/11 at 4:11 p.m. Central: Cross-posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com.
UPDATE 6/03/11 at 2:45 p.m. Central: The Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader published a piece today under the headline, Nixa rabbit seller offered an alternative to fine. When I contacted Dollarhite June 3, he said he was withholding any public comment on the alleged “alternative” offer until he and his attorney have a chance to review.
UPDATE 6/7/11 at 9:16 p.m. Central: John Dollarhite informed me moments ago that a representatives of the USDA is scheduled to visit his home June 13 at 3 p.m. local time “to see if we have any rabbits and cages.”
UPDATE 10/29/11 at 10:29 a.m. Central: The Dollarhites go to Washington.
Read all of my posts about the Dollarhite’s story in “Chasing Rabbits.”
If you enjoy this blog and want to keep reading stories like the one above, show your support by using the “Support Bob” tool at right. Follow me on Twitter @BloggingMachine. Thanks in advance for your support!