Judy and John Dollarhite, in a protracted struggle with the United States Department of Agriculture for selling rabbits without a license, told their story to about a dozen members of Congress Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C.
“We drove 18 hours straight through, spent a short night, and then had a meeting in the Russell Senate Office Building-Kennedy Caucus Room,” John Dollarhite said in an email. “We told our story to members of the House and Senate that were present.”
The Dollarhites were among a number of others in similar situations who recounted their stories about overreaching government in a Regulatory Roundtable Forum hosted by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
John Dollarhite said that Missouri Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt were not able to attend, but the Nixa couple still took advantage of the opportunity to update the lawmakers.
“McCaskill’s office asked us to stop by and meet with her assistants, which we did and they stated that Claire was still committed to see our case resolved without penalty,” he said. “Roy Blunt’s office asked that we see him after our meeting, but due to a scheduling conflict we walked with him to the Senate floor to discuss our case as he walked to address the senate. He acted as though he didn’t know anything about our case, yet his office got a copy of the same email I had sent to both McCaskill and (Missouri 7th District Rep. Billy) Long’s offices. Long’s office didn’t contact us whatsoever.”
The USDA offered the Dollarhites a settlement in lieu of a nearly $100,000 fine, but the couple rejected the settlement agreement saying it was too restrictive.
John Dollarhite said the stories he heard during the forum were astonishing and he hoped his and Judy’s participation would make a difference.
“It was a fast trip for sure, but one we hope will make a difference,” he said. “To date, we still haven’t heard anything new from USDA.”