Thursday, June 4, 2009

What's Going on in IN Dog Seizure Case?

The Indiana Attorney General's Office and HSUS "raided" a dairy farm Monday and seized 240 dogs on the grounds that the farm's owners had not paid taxes on the dog breeding operation. Squeeze me? Isn't there such a thing as an IRS audit or even some sort of warning letter? They say the owners haven't paid taxes so they just waltz in and take all the dogs? If I were the owners, I'd be wondering what the charges were:
No criminal charges have been filed, and the Garwoods [the farm owners] were not arrested.

Hmmm. No charges, no arrests and yet they seize 240 dogs. Oh and bonus: there are already plans to start adopting the dogs out shortly. Due process, anyone? Oh wait, the owners can't answer the charges against them because there are no charges. Clever clever. From the HSUS release:
Today's sales-tax-enforcement action took place under pre-existing law. A new law passed by the Legislature that takes effect July 1, House Enrolled Act. 1468, will give the state of Indiana additional enforcement authority against commercial dog-breeding operations. It requires that caged dogs be allowed out for exercise and increases the penalties for animal cruelty.
Puppy producers and brokers will be required to register with the State of Indiana, and that in turn could more readily trigger sales-tax investigations.

Oh glee.

I can't help but wonder if IN "puppy producers" aka breeders will want to register with the state, pay the annual fee (ranging from $75 - $500) and subject themselves to possible seizure of their dogs based upon allegations - not charges - of tax evasion. Some might think it's too risky and too great an infringement on their civil rights. In other words, some breeders may cease breeding altogether. Or maybe that was the point.


Heather Houlahan said...

It has taken over five months to get a Montana judge to even consider the idea that the Billings English shepherds are "fungible property" and can be placed in homes if the county posts a bond for their value, -- with no confidence that she will rule in favor of the county and the welfare of the dogs.

You know, I have no problem with enforcing the tax laws on these puppymillers. That is, after all, how they got Al Capone.

But, due process anyone?

Why the huge disparities across jurisdictions?

EmilyS said...

Where does a State Rep and a shelter director (mentioned in the story with "15 others)) get the authority to seize the property of others? How, for that matter does HSUS have that authority?

YesBiscuit! said...

One thing I've noticed in some of the legislation being put forward lately is that law enforcement can deputize "animal rescuers" at will. That could be an explanation for what happened here if IN has such a law. IDK.