The Dollarhites followed the advice of the agent and immediately closed their business. But after eight weeks had passed, they had still not received any sort of notification from the USDA. So John Dollarhite became proactive, calling the agency in order to find out its verdict. USDA enforcement specialist Roxanne Folk told Mr. Dollarhite that their file was sitting on her desk and she had not finished reviewing it. She added harshly that they should expect to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that the USDA was going to make “an example” out of them. When John asked what she meant by that, Folk stated that they would simply have to wait for notification from her, then she promptly hung up the phone.
The Dollarhites did not hear from the USDA for an entire year.
Then in April 2011 the Dollarhites received a certified letter in the mail claiming that they had violated the Animal Welfare Act. Their fine? $3.9 million! But the USDA, in its benevolent mercy, informed the family that the agency was willing to settle for a payment of $90,643 if paid by May 23, 2011 — a mere month later.
So what exactly could the Dollarhites have possibly done to deserve such a draconian fine?
They had violated some mystery law that prohibits the selling of more than $500 worth of rabbits within a one-year period.
Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, is the author of “Government Bullies.”