Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The USDA Pounds a Nail into the Coffin of America's Dogs

I knew something was up. As I walked across the National Mall one day last week, a lurid pink bus passed me by. It was ugly. It was offensive. It was sponsored by the animal rights movement.  It's sole goal is to slander American dog breeders and force the USDA to violate the Fourth Amendment rights of everyone with a puppy.  They succeeded.  

Next thing you know, here is the APHIS division of the USDA announcing a conference call.  With less than 12 hours notice, APHIS announces: "Please join APHIS’ Administrator Kevin Shea on a conference call tomorrow, September 10, at 12:45 p.m. EDT for an important Animal Welfare Act regulatory update." Isn't that nice of them? As if Americans didn't have something else they'd rather be doing at 12:45pm on September 10th. You know, like working?  Or getting ready for September 11th memorial ceremonies?  As if the government which is legally supposed to be for the people and by the people but can't give the people more than 12 hours notice?  

But let's review. Now that APHIS has been taken over by animal rights activists from HSUS, they have been pushing hard to "close an internet loophole" for dog sellers. At least that's what they have told the public. Cue in lots of whiny music and sad eye puppies while a voice of doom says, "Puppy mills are taking over America." Yeah, like that is even possible in the Great Recession where 49 million Americans are currently starving and the President is counting his bomb stockpile like a kid at Christmas while eyeing Syria. But I digress. 

In government bureaucrat speak its called revising and updating the "Retail Pet Store" rule or RIN 0579-AD57.  I call it the Fourth Amendment.  That pesky little provision that says our homes are to be safe from unreasonable searches and seizures.  According to APHIS what is now reasonable is, you dastardly criminal you!  You birthed a puppy!  How dare you!   Get that damned dog out of your carpeted house with its nice plush furniture and get thee into a sterile concrete kennel.  ASAP!   Because we are the government.  Because we overpaid useless bureaucrats at APHIS have never birthed a puppy in our lives but we are just sure that your home is cruel and abusive and all dogs belong living in sterile concrete kennels removed from human contact.  That's where they are the happiest.  We are from the government and we know best.  But its not just puppies.  Read the fine print.  APHIS says this regulation will cover ALL ANIMALS listed under the AWA.  All.   Its called mission creep for those not in the know.  

This should come as no surprise, after all APHIS requested $29 million in its 2014 budget solely to raid, ah hem' implement this new rule.  They claim this new rule is required due to the invention of the Internet.  Who knew Al Gore hated puppies, and here I thought he was a crazed sex poodle.  Ignoring the fact that the Sears Catalog used to sell puppies decades before the Internet existed.  Yes, you ordered a puppy out of a Sears catalog and it was shipped to you.  Oh the horrors!  The inhumanity!  Where's the Animal Liberation Front protest of Sears' Headquarters?  

APHIS:  We received 75,584 individual comments, 134,420 signed form letters, and 213,000 signatures on petitions submitted by organizations supporting or opposing the proposed rule. The comments were from animal welfare organizations, kennel clubs, breed registries, organizations representing owners and trainers of working dogs, not-for-profit animal rescue and sheltering organizations, animal transporters, purebred dog and cat fanciers, residential breeders of dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, and other animals, USDA-licensed breeders, pet and pet supply stores, pet owners, farmers, veterinarians and veterinary organizations, horse and livestock owners and producers, raptor propagators, State governments, elected officials, including U.S. Senators and Representatives, and members of the public.   And yet they ignored all comments that weren't received from animal rights activists. 

I listened to the conference call.  All of it. Every sickening bit.  HSUS, ASPCA, and DDAL animal rights activists chimed in to cheer on the government raid force!  Go get them puppy breeders now!  Erase them, eradicate them, shut them down!  No American deserves a dog!   Okay, they didn't say that.  But they did ask, just how soon can you get started?  And they dragged their comments and questions out, counting down the time on the conference call so that very few others could ask any questions.  Nice tactic!  

There on the phone, I was forced to listen to bureaucrats shit regulations out of their ass and they couldn't answer even the simplest of questions.  When challenged on what exactly IS a breeding female? A question breeders have been asking APHIS since 2012, just how do you determine what is a breeding female?  What is the age limit?  What?  Is it a one day old puppy that has the misfortune to be born a female?  Is it a 15 year old grandma we didn't spay for health reasons which we discussed with our veterinarian?  What determines if its a breeding female?  How do we know if we have more than four of them? After all, four is legal, but five makes you a criminal.  What counts as four? And is it dogs, cats, rabbits? What? What if I have one dog, two cats, and two rabbits that are all female? That makes five. Do I need to worry about a APHIS SWAT team knocking on my doorstep? Not to worry assures the bureaucrat. Dr. Rushin who knows zippo about breeding dogs: "We will determine a breeding female dog by our determination if its a breeding female. If we think it has a capacity to be bred, it's a breeding female."  Yeah, we are just gonna eyeball it and if we think it can get knocked up, you're a criminal.  Get ready for the fines and sanctions.  

For my Constitutionally minded friends, Read it and laugh your ass off. I'm sure Jefferson is turning in his grave.  
"A number of commenters stated that any change to the definition of retail pet store that subjects their homes to possible unannounced government inspections for AWA compliance violates their Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure. Section 2146 of the AWA explicitly authorizes inspections of licensees to determine compliance with the AWA. However, such inspections are limited to only those areas that impact the well-being of the animals, such as areas where food and medicine for the animals are stored."  Dear APHIS Idiots, just because an American has animals in their home does not mean you get to raid them and search "selected" parts of their home.  The Fourth Amendment covers all of their home.  All of it.  Capeesh?  You can't just search the kitchen because they store their dog food there.  Nice try though!  

What I thought was a nice move, was the admission that the APHIS Inspectors starting 60 days from now plan on calling, emailing and contacting all listed Internet puppy sales ads and ask them questions about their puppies in order to trap the seller in to an admission that they should have a USDA license under this new law.  Now these callers have no intentions of buying a puppy, cat, or rabbit, or other small exotic animal, they just want to ask searching questions about you to determine if they can come and raid you.  Yeah, that's called entrapment.  It falls right into the APHIS Request for Proposal they put out a while back asking for bids from data harvesting companies to track down all pet breeders on the internet and screen them for size.  Big Brother wants your Puppy.  

But don't you worry, all illegitimate and fly by night rescue scammers selling sick dogs imported from foreign countries continue to be absolutely exempt from the law.  No standards of care for them, no siree.   The funny thing is, in order to protect the public "welfare" they threw in everything but the kitchen sink, one of which was the fact that this rule will protect the public from rabies.  Really?  Just how the hell will it do that?   Its rescue scammers that are bringing in rabid animals into the United States and infecting unsuspecting "adopters" not legitimate dog breeders.  

As one last nice touch, Dr. Rushin, a clueless bureaucrat with 18 years of pencil pushing experience, repeatedly said that all people who think they might be covered under this new law should call him up and tell him all about their "business model" so he can write it all down and determine if you get a raid truck or not.   Isn't that nice of him?  Yeah, you probably don't know, Dr. Rushin is a lawyer.  Now do you really want to be telling him all your private business?  

American Pet Breeders need stand up and refuse to take it.  Period.  End of story.  Prohibition failed because people refused to comply.  No reaching out to Dr. Rushin to "explain your business model" to him as he requested. You do not call government raiders and tell them your business!!! If you do, you are an idiot who deserves to be raided. Draw your line in the sand and say, no more!  You want to license me and force me to remove my dogs from my home and store them in a concrete kennel then run a drone over my house and PROVE how many dogs, cats, or rabbits are here. Otherwise, get out of my life.  Americans need to say, "My dog will sit on my sofa if she damned well wants too and no government bureaucrat is going to stop her."  

The Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders said it best.  "9-10 is the 9-11 of dog breeders."  

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