John and Judy Dollarhite of Nixa, Missouri used to raise rabbits for extra spendingmoney. They should have signed up for food stamps instead. Our federal overlords do not take kindly to entrepreneurism. After harassment by the USDA reminiscent of K’s tribulations in The Trial, the Dollarhites — who took good care of the animals, complied with all applicable state laws, and never sold them across state lines — were hit with a bizarre and massive fine:
Recently, the Dollarhites received a “Certified Mail Return Receipt” letter (dated April 19, 2011) from the USDA informing them that they had broken the law and must pay USDA a fine of $90,643. Their crime? Violating violating 9 C.F.R. § 2.1 (a) (1): Selling more than $500 worth of rabbits in a calendar year. …
Based on an average price per rabbit sold being $10.45, the fine comes out to more than $206 per rabbit. In addition, the letter contains the following statement:
APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] laws and regulations provide for administrative and criminal penalties to enforce these regulatory requirements, including civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each of the violations documented in our investigation.
If the threat contained in the letter is to be believed, the family could be fined as much as $10,000 per rabbit beyond the first 50 bunnies that netted the family its first $500. Do the math (390 rabbits x $10,000 each) and, if they don’t pay the initial fine, they could face additional fines totaling $3.9 million.