Update on Debe Bell Rabbit Raid

Yesterday I spoke with Debe Bell for quite some time about the raid and seizure of her rabbits, the actions of law enforcement and what her plans are regarding her future in the rabbit world. Bob McCarty did an excellent job of chronicling the event and bringing it into the light of public scrutiny, and you must read his article so you have an idea about what happened.

Since we also raise rabbits, and I have raised rabbits nearly my entire life, I know a little bit about them, and about what is normal and abnormal.  I saw the pictures from the Jefferson County, Colorado Sheriff’s Department that are the “evidence”  of extreme neglect and animal abuse. The pictures are, in a word, scary. But the photos need some background information to be understood by laymen. You can view the pictures from the Sheriff’s Office here.

Before you can condemn the lady, or think that it is justifiable to take her $17,000 herd and destroy 20 years of genetics by spaying and neutering all of her rabbits prior to a verdict being rendered as to whether or not she is actually guilty of the 25 charges of animal abuse levied against her, you need to have a little understanding of the scope. Also, you know, that pesky little thing called the 4th Amendment? It’s something we have to demand now…. Even though the Sheriff of every county takes an oath to uphold all of our Constitutionally guaranteed rights, they evidently are unaware what that actually means.

A few facts are germane. The Sheriff’s Department shows 11 pictures. One of an aisle and one of a fan. The fan has hair on it. When you have a rabbit barn, the hair on fans will get out of hand from time to time. So what? The aisle has triple stacked cages. There are water bottles on most of them, and those water bottles look clean. So, again….So what? 3 pics out of 11 are moot.

There are two pics of water dishes (crocks) that are filthy. When you put crocks in a rabbit cage the rabbits will often destroy it in a matter of hours. They drink their fill and then defecate in it. Nasty? Yes, but it’s what they do….and it’s why I only use crocks in an emergency, like when a waterer is broken and I can’t fix or replace it right away. The good thing is that dishes can be rinsed out fairly easily. 5 of 11 pics explained.

Then there are three pictures of Angora rabbits with matted hair. It is my understanding that those were going to be raptor food that weekend. In two days to be precise. So, does that matter?

Finally are pictures of four cages. The cages are bad. I have to say that I would be upset if they were in my barn. However, these are four cages out of 184 cages. Worth an inquiry? Probably….but worth seizing and destroying 20 years of work and violating someone’s rights? I don’t think so.

Finally, we have the search warrant. The warrant is based on an anonymous tip to a tip line that pays for information leading to prosecutions. Notably, the “informant” claims to have visited the rabbitry in May of 2010, and was so appalled by the conditions that they (he or she, I guess) waited fourteen months until there was a potential for a $2,000 payment to report these horrific conditions.

In the search warrant, which arrived six hours after the Sheriff, several deputies, Animal Control and the House Rabbit Society came onto Debe’s property and went into her rabbit barn, a veterinarian named “Dr. Hill” states that the rabbits need to be kept at a maximum temp of 80 degrees. The truth is that 80 degrees is the top of the optimum temperature range for rabbits. If they had to be kept below 80 degrees at all times there would be no rabbits in most of the United States. It was 84 degrees in Debe’s barn after six hours of having the door open on a 94 degree day. Dr Hill also says that rabbit cages have to be cleaned every day. That is just crazy.

Once in awhile you will have a rabbit that needs to have the cage brushed on a daily basis, but that is almost always a doe that has recently had babies, and the poop falls through the wire nearly all the time. Once a week brushing is usually sufficient to keep the cages clean. If you had to wire brush 184 cages once every single day, how much time do you think that would take? Is it necessary for the animal’s health? No. Look closely at rabbit with the most impressive pile of manure in her cage. She is shiny and healthy looking. And that pile of manure is huge. But the rabbit looks good. That particular rabbit is a 17 leg Grand Champion…..and now she is spayed.

Dr. Hill works for Foothills Animal Shelter. They are the ones who have spayed and neutered all these rabbits and are now re-homing them for a fee. Nice, isn’t it? They don’t believe rabbits can live in temps over 80 degrees and they get to profit by spaying neutering and charging a re-homing fee on livestock they never had to invest anything into acquiring. Hmm. Could that be a motive?

I was only able to find one video of Debe Bell showing her rabbitry, and it wasn’t the footage we discussed. She told me that she believed there was video footage on youtube of her barn the day of the raid and seizure, but I couldn’t find that. My main puter is shot and I am dealing with one that I am not too proficient on, so perhaps you may be able to find the footage she spoke about, or  you can look at this footage if you like.

My stand is this, at no time should a person’s property be violated without proper warrants, and proper cause. Due process must be followed before any agency deprives someone of their property. If there is a concern over animal welfare, the course of action should be to contact the owner and give them the opportunity to correct  problems. If an actual problem is not dealt with, then and only then should further action be taken.

What happened to Debe Bell was patently wrong.

Who’s next?

61 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shelley
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 14:59:52

    Seriously?

    You think the veterinarian lied in order to make 25 bucks on each spay/neuter? Or two for the price of one, if people adopt two? This after housing the rabbits for several weeks and absorbing the costs for the housing?

    Oh, and you happened to also mentioned that Bell signed the rabbits over when they were seized.

    You should be ashamed to malign a good organization because you’re allowing your tea party zeal to deny what’s directly in front of your eyes.

    I don’t care if you want to defend Bell, because the photos really do speak about her quality of care. But to go after the animal shelter, who was actually asked by the sheriff to help, is wrong. But then, right and wrong doesn’t much matter to you folks, does it?

    Reply

    • thinkaboutit193
      Aug 23, 2011 @ 10:26:59

      Shelley,
      Since you seem to know a lot about what happened, can you tell us what experience Dr. Hill has with rabbits? Can you tell us why they took the rabbits out of an air conditioned barn, put them in cardboard boxes and plastic cat cages with no bedding (very bad for the rabbits legs because they can’t get traction and very bad for their health because they sit in their pee), placed them in a hot trailer and transported them to a hot barn. Can you tell us what happened to the babies they wrapped up and placed the mom on top of? Can you tell us how many rabbits died in their care? Can you tell us how many rabbits died because of the surgery? Can you tell us, did they do this out of ignorance or was it arrogance? Can you tell us, who gave them the right to completely disregard the law? Can you tell us what country you live in, because here in the wonderful US what they did was WRONG!

      Reply

    • Mette
      Aug 23, 2011 @ 10:53:54

      The Veterinarian is guilty of destruction and vandalism of private property! He did not have the owners permission. He did not have a court order (AFTER a trial and Due Process). He needs to be sued and he needs his license permanently revoked! Not to mention CRIMINAL Charges filed against him!!!!!!!! He has no immunity and is a co-conspirator!

      Reply

    • Joust
      Sep 07, 2011 @ 06:20:04

      Uhh, yeah I think the vet had an agenda, one which you are not being very honest about. I have never heard of a vet speutering a rabbit for $25, but even if this guy *is* giving the HRS that good a deal, that *still* works out to five grand for this day’s work… not exactly chump change. Not to mention we haven’t even started on how much the ‘adoption’ fee is, especially after we warm up the heartstrings with terrifying tales of the ‘ordeal’ these poor creatures were in, to loosen up the purse strings of the gullible… AND the vet lied if he said the animals were not being properly kept. The temperature was simply not an issue, not until animal control got there and opened up the barn anyway. An angora with tangled hair? OMFG, it was RAPTOR FOOD, should we bathe and shampoo it first? Dead rabbit? They DIE. You have more than a hundred animals, in a species that has a 6 yr life expectancy, then get used to that fact. Guess what? EVERY animal dies, NO exceptions, and they are not always polite enough to do it while you are home. Rabbits do not have a huge long lifespan to begin with; you think you can own dozens of animals and NONE of them are supposed to ever die??! Dirty water bowls? That is why you clean them DAILY and yes, they can get dirty in just a few hours while you are at work. These are rabbits, not prom queens. They crap in their bowls, they play with them and dump them. They had water at 5 am, they would have had water sooner had the police not prevented her from access. Hair in the fan? OK now which is it; she didn’t provide them with cooling, or she did? Rabbits SHED. The fan was still moving air, it probably could have stood a good cleaning but then it’s a BARN. Barns get dirty. It’s a fact of life. Animals are not CHILDREN, not even rabbits, and keeping them in a temperature controlled barn is a very proper method of husbandry. What ‘good organization’ would that be, that you speak of, Shelley? And how much of the blood money did the HRS get out of this deal? I am sick to death of this continual assault on livestock producers from the kewpie brigade. Not everyone keeps their little num-nums in platinum cages with a maid service to scoop up each poopy as it falls. And that does NOT excuse the unbelievable, unprofessional behavior of the legal personnel, in preventing her from taking photos of her OWN property, and adopting this ‘guilty until proven innocent’ attitude that has pervaded the legal system whenever animals are involved. This is still America, and there ARE proper ways to deal with alleged animal abuse. This does not mean you take an anonymous tip as an excuse to ride roughshod over another CITIZEN’S rights. Ever. Period.

      Reply

  2. truthfarmer
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 16:19:01

    I never said the veterinarian lied. I just think the vet doesn’t know much about rabbits.

    I also do have a problem with spaying and neutering morethan 150 rabbits and charging that to anyone but a person who is willing to have their OWN rabbit spayed and neutered. One they have paid for and cared for, btw.

    My real problem is that rights that are unalienable were violated by someone with a badge who swore to uphold those rights. What’s yours?

    Reply

  3. Joe in Missouri
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 16:59:45

    Besides the Issues of the FDA being an Unconstitutional rogue agency and the issues that Doreen brings up there is the issue of the County sheriff not protecting this persons rights. Think about electing a new sheriff!
    Also educate yourself about nullification …please.
    As it is a viable solution.
    http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/interview-with-a-zombie/
    http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/interview-with-a-zombie/
    http://www.nullifynow.com/kansascity/

    Reply

  4. okgonow
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 19:36:01

    Honestly, as a rabbit breeder, I find it incredibly embarrassing that anyone would be defending the conditions depicted in those photographs. I stood up for Debe and was appalled along with everyone else, but as the facts leak out from both sides, I have stepped down. I will wait for the trial to form my final decision, but I am certainly no longer a blind supporter of Ms. Bell. I can also say that I feel comfortable in supporting Ms. Bell’s Constitutional rights without condoning the absolutely DEPLORABLE conditions depicted in those photographs!

    We all forget that a warrant is not necessary if the sheriff is invited into the premises by a tenant, which Bell’s ex allegedly was, or at least claimed to be. I think Ms. Bell may discover that she misunderstood her rights and what was going on.

    Reply

  5. Marilyn B.
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 20:02:30

    Shelley,

    Debe signed her rabbits over under duress. She was told they were going to charge her $24,000 a month to keep her rabbits at the shelter. $800 per day, $4 per rabbit per day. The House Rabbit Society solicits sponsorship of rabbits, and claims it takes only $26 per month to support a rabbit. The shelter’s charge boils down to $133 a month for a rabbit.

    Something smells real bad here, and it’s NOT rabbit poo.

    She had no choice. She did not have the funds to pay them, and the law allows the shelter to charge whatever exorbitant dollar amount they choose. A decision under duress is not a willing choice.

    Tell my why it is okay for them to spay/neuter and offer rabbits for adoption, when there has been no court appearance, no trial, no opportunity for Ms. Bell to face her accuser, as she has the right to?

    Tell me why it is okay for the sheriff’s department to selectively release photos that manipulate public opinion the way THEY want it manipulated, when those should have remained private pending legal process?

    Do I think the dirty cages are wonderful? No. But, I understand rabbits. When I looked at the pic of the bowl with the feces, that was NOT a bowl that had sat for days in a cage…a rabbit can mess a bowl like that in a matter of hours.

    Debe Bell was railroaded, plain and simple.

    Reply

  6. Joe in Missouri
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 20:15:19

    Please keep in mind that government in accordance with God’s law was instituted to protect human rights and NOT animal rights. (I am not advocating the abuse of animals.)

    Reply

  7. Therese
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 23:40:28

    Please keep in mind that Shelley is Shelley Powers, and HSUS employee and the ghost writer of Wayne’s book “The Bond.” The only bond Wayne and Ms. Powers have with animals is the money to be made from exploiting them and their owners.

    Reply

  8. Animal Lover
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 00:15:01

    Puh-leeze! Spaying and neutering rabbits? Ridiculous. These “rescue” groups are kooks, plain and simple. And there should be a law passed that NO ONE can have their animals confiscated without a chance to come into compliance with the welfare standards, if they are found to be in violation. .

    Reply

  9. truthfarmer
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 07:58:06

    okgonow,
    I agree that we shouldn’t be ‘blind supporters’. However, I see nothing correct about a tenant being able to give over the owner’s rights and no basis for removing property without allowing time for any problem to be addressed. I don’t support the conditions shown in the photos.But it isn’t a complete picture….that is why we need due process!
    No matter what the circumstances, I cannot support theft of property without due process, and that is what happened here.
    It’s my understanding that by law in Colorado any animal care issues are to be given three days to correct prior to action. If that is indeed the case, then we have the same problem of the Sheriff violating the law. That is a bigger mess than any of the nasty cages.

    Reply

  10. Tami
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 08:56:08

    Hopping around a pile of poop does not mean the animal is in a state of pain or suffering, which is the justification for seizure in most states, including CO. The condition of the animal itself defines it, not the environment. Did any of these rabbits need immediate attention from a vet? If so, they could be seized. The ones that appeared to be in good health should not have been seized. The environment certainly could be improved, but in and of itself, it is not reason for an immediate seizure.

    Reply

  11. Mette
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 08:58:40

    My question, What is the law in Colorado like? In Texas any “credible citizen” can present to the grand jury with a sworn affidavit and criminal charges. Just listening I heard the following violations Bill of Attainder (violates all state and US Constitution), Official Oppression,violation of oath of office, destruction of private property, Due Process violation, Aggravated trespassing, etc. Now there is doctrine “Trespass Ab Initio” this is where once a law is broken at any point (criminal act by the cops) then nothing they do from that point on applies. I have no faith in the system or power brokers, but if you can file with the Grand Jury then you have a better chance. In Texas any public official indicted by the Grand Jury has to be removed from office within 3 days. It doesn’t matter if it goes to trail or not. Next I would write a “tort” letter demanding a cure. Third I would write to the American Veterinarian Association and demand the Association pull that Veterinarians license for doing spays without the owners permission NOR a court order! Also send a tort letter (several) to the Veterinarian demanding a cure. Plus a tort to the city/county officials! On the Grand Jury remember each person gets a charge sheet as does each offense that person does. Don’t count on a lawyer to do what is right.

    Reply

  12. Isadream
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 09:03:17

    She was targeted–pure and simple-yes the cage was dirty-that HAPPENS in life. That could have been easily correct and that should fall under neglect-she could have been talked to about it and given a chance to get things up to par but that was not done-no they felt it was much better to STEAL a bunch of rabbits so they could SELL them. Honestly how many of us have had our house get messier then it should be or let the yard grow up a little too tall or maybe your dog didn’t get taken in to the groomer quite as fast as normal. How many times have we neglected the little things we SHOULD have done? Debe could have cleaned a little better-maybe something was going on in her life that prevented her from doing it as thoroughly as she should have. Does that mean she needs to LOSE all her animals? Of course NOT! Get real people–soon they will be taking peoples dogs because they got a tick or flea on them–

    Reply

  13. Lady
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 12:09:15

    I listened to the podcast twice, taking notes, and here’s a general rundown of what struck me as being worthy of attention:

    1: Who has legal access to a barn or shed that is not connected to a residence? Are they competent to hold keys to your barn? What about in case of an emergency such as a fire? Can a housemate or tenant legally give access to such a facility, with or without a warrant?

    2: Surrender vs bond: if there is a form for each animal, why not sign only for the ones you can afford to lose, and post bond only for the best/most valuable? Why not allow the ‘research’ rabbits to be taken and bond the remainder?

    3: When you allow random access to your facility, you are running a risk that any one or more of them could complain of your husbandry despite your own opinion of it. What is clean to me, may not look clean to you, etc.

    4: If a rabbitry takes in culls or unwanted rabbits, do they really want to be keeping them all in the same barn? Why would someone essentially become a dumping ground for the unwanted rabbits? To me that is a rescue or other entity, not a breeder.

    5: When a tipster calls in, does it really matter if it is known who it is? They just complain; it’s the job of authorities to investigate. And if they find a problem, don’t blame the caller–it’s not their fault that the barn is seen to be in violation. Paid or not, malicious or not, doesn’t matter. It’s the evidence that counts.

    6: If part of one’s defense is that you supply various groups with feed rabbits, be specific. Just saying ‘the zoo’ or ‘the raptors’ or ‘the 4H group’ leaves people wondering which zoo, which raptors, which 4H group.

    7. Make sure that one’s records are precise and useful; if you are ‘doing research’, be able to back it up, especially if it is taking place in a barn with animals which are bred, shown or sold. It’s hard to justify doing Pasteurella research in such conditions.

    8. Is there a rationale for doing research on Pasteurella in one’s barn but not treating chickens for respiratory issues?

    9. Angoras may naturally matt, but that isn’t an excuse to let them.

    10. Where is the research behind the claim that does poop in the nestbox and the kits chew on it? Don’t kits just suckle before they eat anything solid?

    11: If you as an animal owner don’t want to be held up as a negative example, don’t leave yourself open by having cages that are unsanitary or downright appalling. As for the whole ‘staged photo’ issue–that can cut both ways, so be careful. Who is to say that after the raid, the place was not cleaned up and photos taken then to show the barn in a better light? Playing devil’s advocate here, but…

    12: Would calling the press/media have done any good when the owner is being ‘detained’ and prevented from entering their own barn, moving about their own property, etc? One would think they would have a field day with that.

    13: Claims were made that the vet and law enforcement were poorly trained, and perhaps they were. But the vets examined the rabbits and made the call to seize–so law enforcement did what they do–enforce.

    14: The necropsies of the dead rabbits aren’t costing the owner money, so why should the owner object? Law enforcement is just following procedure to ensure that everything is right, which can reflect well or poorly on the owner, depending on the results.

    15: Don’t make absolute statements unless you are certain. “I don’t sell pets.” can cme back to bite you if you ever even gave one away as a pet.

    16: Will the groups to which you belong, step up for you? Groups should at least make statements to support their members. It’s very quiet from the groups Ms. Bell belongs to.

    Unfortunately. if a simple minded person like me can address many of these points, can you imagine educated people? I do hope she has a really good attorney, but by the looks of it, might not.

    I hope this might create some discussion that we all need to address. I know I focused on the “bad” points, but then again, that is what the Vets and law enforcement poeple did. I think Ms. Bell did her best in the interviews. She sounded educated, very articulate, and knowlegable.

    Reply

    • Joust
      Sep 07, 2011 @ 07:50:57

      I will take a stab at ‘intelligent discussion’ and I agree that only the bad points are being looked at by pretty much everyone in this deal. My comments are in relation to the actual questions asked and my reaction to that, so take that for what it is worth. Not as a condemnation of you particularly, for I believe you are trying to accomplish something here, and I applaud you for that, but more in response to the nature of the questions themselves and how they relate to the reality of animal husbandry issues. For one thing I have a hard time with the idea that all Americans should supposedly be ‘accountable’ to their neighbors and keep meticulous records of their activities to defend against unreasonable searches and seizures; we have a Constitutional right to be protected from those, period.

      I had ‘issues’ with many of the points raised, even though I am well aware of how this sort of thing is generally a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation and slander. (Not by you, by the ‘authorities’ in this case and the HRS. Am I the *only one* who finds the fact that there were ‘several’ HRS members present on the day of the raid, troubling?) But one comment did leap out at me:

      Point 10: I can tell you that rabbit does do indeed poop for their kits to eat; it is one method of providing them with antigens from the mother. This is a soft form of poop, and the babies do indeed manage it just fine. Not something we find appetizing, but then dogs lick their own rear ends and then ‘kiss’ us. Adult rabbits also eat their own poop, it is *necessary* for proper nutrition. Rabbits have to process food twice before achieving full digestion. Cows manage to digest plant nutrients through the use of their rumen; rabbits instead have a cecum where predigested food is collected and further broken down, then passed out the anus as a soft ball (cecotrope) to be re-ingested, and this process is *necessary* for good health. Whether or not we like this fact, it is how Nature made them, so being grossed out by it is a waste of time. Usually, rabbits eat the pre-digested poo as it passes from the rectum, but occasionally (and more often in open bottom cages) it is lost.

      As for the rest:
      Point 2: A ‘form for each animal?’ You think these people intend to ALLOW the person to pick and choose? That is not the way this works. She was ACCUSED and therefore she is GUILTY; and she must forfeit her legal rights immediately, even though this is absolutely a violation of her rights as a US citizen. If she tries to argue on those grounds she will be told that she will be subjected to these astronomical fines daily for all the animals unless she forfeits said rights instantly. They have no intention of letting her keep ownership of ANY. This is an extremely *lucrative* racket that the ARAs engage in as a form of business. They are very good at it, and there ARE no escapes.

      Point 3: I didn’t see her offering ‘random access,’ but I will say this: Looks to me like she had a LOT of people around that place, many times. Kids coming in weekly to help clean and whatnot. If this is the case, sure seems to me like there would have been a lot more complaints than ONE if she was not keeping them sufficiently cared for. And no, ‘sufficiently’ does NOT mean in pristine, state of the art cages with automatic feeders and waterers and individual masseurs. And I still want to know who lodged that complaint because yes it DOES matter, esp since this can be seen as harassment or even fraud if the accusation is made by an entity that stands to gain by it.

      Point 4: Most farmers ‘take in’ animals over the course of their business. Sometimes it is a favor for a friend. Sometimes it is simply a business opportunity that presents itself out of the blue. Sometimes it is to bring in wanted attributes. In a perfect world, they might should be kept in a separate barn or holding area, but for how long? Most rabbit growers I know keep new animals segregated at first but then all the animals go in one barn, THEY know which ones are take ins and which are for sale and which are breeder keepers and which are the show animals, and it is not really important that anybody ELSE knows.

      Point 5: Yes it DOES matter who called it in; we have a right to ‘face our accuser.’ The REASON this is a right should be obvious: it is to prevent precisely the kind of abuse that happened in this case! Our legal departments have glossed over or prevented access to this information routinely, for example in cities declining to give this information to prevent neighbor disputes, but the problem with this kind of thinking is that it sets the groundwork for just what we saw here: people with a very specific agenda making spurious claims to damage the reputation of a rival or to cause trouble for someone with an opposing view, in this case an animal producer vs a group who thinks they have the right to play God with other people’s animals and lives. It can also be a form of harassment, and even more insidiously, in the case of some of the larger ARA groups, it is a standard tactic used to part owners from their personal property for FREE, which they can then utilize both for photo ops to bring in donations, and also through ‘adoption’ of these ‘rescued’ (stolen) animals, which is also a form of SALE. (You don’t get to ‘rescue’ them for free, there is a fee involved. Isn’t that convenient? Especially if you are in the ‘rescue’ business.) John Stossel did a whole expose on this very problem several years ago; far from the exposure to these tactics forcing these groups underground, they have only gotten more brazen. Yes, I think it matters a whole LOT who called it in.

      Point 6: Why? They are HER rabbits, and she does not HAVE to put someone else in the spotlight with her by naming names. I am sure her clients appreciate not being drawn into the circus, frankly.

      Point 9: Oh please. Unless they are unclean, matts are not a health issue, it is cosmetic. Left too long,and allowed to get and stay moist, they can cause skin eruptions but that was not the case here. If simply being ‘matted’ were a health issue, then please explain Pulik and Komondorok and other traditionally corded dog breeds, or wool sheep that are matted to the skin for YEARS, heck for that matter explain dreadlocks. It may not look nice but it is not neglect, as such. It is simply a red herring used to add to the impression that Bell was ‘careless’. To someone who takes their poodle to the groomer weekly, a 6 month grow out would look pretty gross too but it’s not evidence of ‘neglect,’ no matter how many ARA groups or tearful kewpies have tried to paint it that way.

      Point 11: Oh, please again. That’s like saying, if you don’t want to be held up as an example of a filthy housekeeper, then make sure EVERY time you leave your home, EVERY time, that every bed is made, the toilet is freshly scrubbed, there are no dishes in the sink: in fact, be ready for a white glove treatment at any and every moment because you don’t know *when* the police are going to bust down your door and let non-law enforcement people who have an axe to grind with you, in to photo that pair of socks laying across the back of the couch or the heaped over trash can (dumped on the floor, for good measure) or the ring in your bathtub, to be shared with law enforcement types as ‘evidence’ and plastered all over the internet by said non-LEO group members as proof you are unfit to raise children… Same deal, exactly.

      Point 12: Look at your prior point. Inviting the media in is a two edged sword, and *all* the ‘officials’ on site are going to take the stance that SHE is the ‘bad guy.’ Is it better to have MORE people ballyhooing this mess, or less? Hard to say. After the fact, we can all see that abuses and glaring violations of even basic rights were perpetrated here, but at the time? Who knows HOW the media might choose to respond? They *might* go with the ‘police brutality’ angle, or they just as well might join in the dogpile on the owner. Truth is, they will go with the way that makes more RATINGS, which is generally to paint the accused as a scum bucket, and if the truth gets lost in the shuffle, oh well. They still get an increase in readership, and a pat on the back from the editor. Kind of a dangerous road to take.

      Point 13: “The vets?” Which ‘vets?’ The pet HRS vet who is a mouthpiece for that group? Well, gee, that is a pretty cushy little gig; YOU get to decide if animals are ‘neglected’ or not, and if you decide yes, then YOU get them all as clients! Meanwhile, the woman’s OWN vet was denied access: why? Because if they repudiated the ‘abuse’ charge, the county/state might lose ground in their kangaroo court procedure? Why was an impartial vet not invited in?

      14: Do you KNOW they are not charging the owner with these procedures? Better check. In many of these seizure operations, the owner’s *rights* are not in evidence whatsoever, but their *responsibilities* to pay for everything are carried to their furthest possible weight. The argument from the State is that the procedures would not be necessary had they not ‘done something wrong.’ And isn’t that just so convenient?

      15. Again, splitting hairs. “I don’t sell pets” (But I’ve sold one or two.) Well, I don’t sell cars either but that does not mean I NEVER have, just that it is not my normal business. This is not grounds for much of anything, but the ARAs have tried every stinking trick in the book to try and bury people with legalese, using the laws concerning regulation of commerce as a method to abuse people some more. This is a non-issue.

      Point 16: Quiet indeed. It’s called TERRORISM. They don’t want to be next; and they ALL know that there, but for the grace of God, go they… Are you really surprised at their reticence to step up?

      Reverend Niemoller, anyone?

      Reply

  14. Mary Hammond
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 12:31:50

    To those condemning Ms. Bell from the pics- let’s start with the first glaring example. The sheriff’s dept released a picture of a hair covered fan. They did not show you a picture of the swamp cooler they themselves turned off. Do you have any explanation of that action? Any thoughts at all? Just curious what those hostile to Ms. Bell would attribute that behavior to?

    Reply

  15. K get real
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 15:42:57

    The vet is making more then what they say. Was at the UV prices on horse for vet care went up. Because they say that the recuse has a open check. Round bales of hay at the sale barn going over $75 a bale. Because recuse has a open check. One horse recuse new truck. Plus animal control brand new truck. All on the tax paider. They are making money and everyone is paying for it. We are being tax without being asked if we want too pay for it. These people are not hire by the people. They just know the right people. This is not what US is about.
    Plus over 30 years back most rabbits were in dark hot buildings. And the cages were dirty. And the rabbits were not dying left and right. So get a life. It was not that dirty. It is still cleaner then a hole in the ground.

    Reply

  16. Janet Gruber
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 17:56:25

    I also find it hard to believe that you would condemn her over 3 or 4 cages out of 184. She says she and her 4-H kids were going to address those cages that very weekend, and I believe her, because otherwise there would have been a heck of a lot more than 3 or 4 dirty cages out of 184. It happens at times to the best of us, she should have been issued a warning and been given a chance to rectify the situation.

    Reply

  17. Joe in Missouri
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 18:12:44

    “Should have been issued a warning?”
    I disagree with you Janet.
    Things like this are best handled by the free market.
    Buy your animals and meat from farmers that do the right thing.
    Do not under that force of death have government enforce arbitrary rules and regulations on others.

    I challenge anyone that thinks that the FDA should exist, to find me where in the Constitution we authorized such a monstrosity.

    Or if you are so included you can just come out and say that in your mind the rule of law does not matter. After all the Constitution is a living document. Right?

    Reply

  18. Karen
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 03:05:16

    How did the anonymous informant know to wait until there would be a payout for his trouble? …Collusion??

    Reply

    • Mette
      Aug 24, 2011 @ 10:27:50

      Violates the Constitution. Is this informant going to show up in court so the victim can face her accuser?

      Reply

  19. guest
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 08:30:21

    face it folks Shelley lives right next door to all of us. Money trumps liberty now. YOU MUST BE PERFECT EVERYDAY, but thats not enough either. Then you will get a disease, go bankrupt with medical bills and lose everything anyway, no matter how clean or meticulous you are in your life. The IRS, govt, UN, etc. will rape and pillage until we are all crazy or dead. What a world we live in now.

    Reply

  20. Anna L
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 09:59:18

    This whole incident was a set-up and Debe’s rights were violated. The annonymous accuser waited 14 MONTHS!! Seems they were more interested in getting the $$ instead of livestock welfare. How many veternatians would drop their business in the middle of the day to rush to a “crime” scene? How many veternarians know much about rabbits? Shame on the Sherrif deparment for the mishandling of these animals. I’m certain that the mortality increased and welfare of these rabbits dropped when dragged from their once cooled barn out into the 94 degree temps and piled into boxes and into a horse trailer. Concern for the animals welfare or flexing your authoritary muscles? It seems common sense that if there was some violation the owner should have been given opportunity to correct the situation.

    Reply

  21. Anna L
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 10:04:40

    PS – to add to my previous comments

    The House Rabitt Society are probably not the experts they claim to be. I would recommend the American Rabbit Breeders Association for any expertese on the raising and care of domestic rabbits. They have been around for over 100 years.

    Reply

    • Mar
      Aug 25, 2011 @ 21:58:00

      Anna L – for somebody who seems to tout so much knowledge, perhaps you should learn how to spell correctly. The ARBA website definitely does not promote education about rabbits, however you can buy a cookbook that contains over 300 pages of recipes that contain rabbit meat. Where do the HRS people claim to be experts? There is a huge difference between an animal rescue organization and an organization for breeders. I can tell you one thing – the HRS people would never promote rabbit cookbooks on their website. Does the American Kennel Association have cookbooks that contain recipes for dog meat? Maybe ARBA has been around for 100 years because of all of the money made off of their membership dues, magazine subscriptions, show coats and rabbit cookbooks. Do you know how long the HRS has been in existence? Didn’t think so.

      Reply

      • truthfarmer
        Aug 26, 2011 @ 07:34:56

        Mar, this is exactly the kind of comment that is completely unhelpful. Picking on someone for a couple of minor spelling errors just shows a mean streak.

        The HOUSE Rabbit Society is for people who want to have a rabbit in their HOUSE, not their rabbit barn. It is a society for people who want bunnies as pets instead of as livestock AND dinner. They are not interested in furthering the genetics and breeding for type, color, conformity, growth rate, tolerance to various environmental stresses or breeding for anything period….especially not profit. Just because ARBA sells cookbooks and the AKC doesn’t, fails to draw a correlation between nasty versus acceptable.

        The fact of the matter is that rabbits can be pets, livestock or dinner. In this country, people eat them. Very few people eat dog. Also, rabbit manure is simply the best fertilizer you will find anywhere. Dog poop isn’t. And one bunny living in your house going in a litter box isn’t going to grow you any type of garden nor increase your ability to put food on anyone’s plate.

        Aside from all of the displayed lack of rabbit knowledge by those who seized them, the issue isn’t even their lack of knowledge. It’sthe violation of blood bought rights and decency that is much more offensive than the worst rabbit cage in Debe Bell’sbarn.

      • Anna L
        Aug 27, 2011 @ 10:22:18

        Dear Mar – Please forgive me for my spelling error. I am sure I deserved that personal attack and that you are quite proud of yourself for catching it.
        The House Rabbit Society was founded in l988.
        The Domestic Rabbits magazine issued by American Rabbit Breeders Assoc. has educational articles on rabbits care, genetics, showing, etc. oh, yes and recipes. If you are concerned about their income, I can only advise you to explore that with their treasurer, David Freeman.

  22. K get real
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 09:37:50

    The law for dogs and cats is that you can not eat them. You can not sell the meat. Or steal the dogs and cats for making meat. It was pass because there was places that was stealing animals for sale.
    And you can not feed dogs dry food. And get clean meat. You would have to feed it fresh clean meat to get clean food. Dog or cat would cost way to much for anyone to eat it.
    But if you want to go ahead and eat a dog. But make sure it is yours or you can go to jail.
    So dogs and rabbits are not the same thing. So lets compair rabbits to chicken, cows or pigs were they belone.

    Reply

  23. guest
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 10:30:42

    I will comment again. Money trumps Liberty now. Like truthfarmer says, this is not really about rabbits, it is and it isnt. Its about our freedoms and our right to live our lives without fear of prosecution. They say now, everyday by noon, most of us have broken at least 3 laws we dont even know about. I am sure this rabbit lady would have got control of the situation eventually and cleaned her rabbits barns. Havent we all been in a situation where our houses were not clean all the time? give me a break, please self righteous perfect people shut up!
    Also, the fact that tipsters now get money rewards and the “see something, say something” crap is playing into the hands of desperate people and sociopathic personality types. Its east to rat on a rabbit breeder than a meth lab freak. The meth lab, gang bangers, drug dealers and such will retaliate big time. Much easier to rat on rabbit lady, and elderly peoples housing violations. And that being said, if it was seen that this lady was having some trouble in her life getting rabbits barns in order, where have all our good neighbors of the past gone? In the past, friends, family, neighbors would have offered to help, and vica versa. Wasnt 4H gonna get involved helping this situation, had they given it enough time?
    I could go on and on about rabbits, HRS, blah blah blah. But shame on the people who have gotton so wrapped up in self righteousness with a reward, and are beating this into the ground. It really isn’t about rabbits. Its about our loss of freedom, and eventually our dignity. We will all be sooner or later in the same situation as this rabbit lady. American has been divided by evil, and you all need to do some homework. Study history, all history of the world and then see if you see any similarities and apply common sense. God help us.

    Reply

  24. Anna L
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 11:17:30

    Dear Guest – Well said.

    Reply

  25. PrairieWolf
    Sep 04, 2011 @ 15:53:33

    I have read the original article at Bob McCarty site plus several others and now this and I can tell you that I would just about bet that the anonymous caller was probably made one of the pseudo country people living somewhere near to her. You know them they are city dwellers that decided a hobby farm or estate in the country was more to their calling. They are causing grief all across the country because roosters are crowing at ungodly hours or the cows on the 100 yr old farm next door stink or the horses etc etc etc. Yep! I have acreage in the country, not a hobby farm nor an estate just acreage and I have a few of those *neighbors*.

    The fact is Debe Bell’s constitutional rights were stripped from her by what amounts to terrorist tactics and it totally nauseates me to read some of the comments here. But even more it scares me that a couple of dirty cages or fouled water crocks brings such comments while the constitutionality of what happened to her is totally ignored!

    I don’t care if you are an animal rights activist/supporter or whether you breed cats, dogs, horses, cattle, rabbits, lizards or are just a pet owner, every single one of you should be scared too. Why? Because attitudes such as I am seeing displayed in too many comments is what is giving the *POWER* to extremists in our country to such an extent that there is virtually nothing anymore that isn’t affected in one way or another by those extremists.

    I think it’s time for more then one of you to take a step back and go read the *Bill of Rights* = Amendment 1-10 of the Constitution

    “Fourth Amendment: guards against searches, arrests, and seizures of property without a specific warrant or a “probable cause” to believe a crime has been committed. Some rights to privacy have been inferred from this amendment and others by the Supreme Court.”

    And the “Fourteenth Amendment (states in part): No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    People need to stop allowing extremists groups to rob all of us of our constitutional rights simply because they don’t like what their neighbor does!

    Prairiewolf

    Reply

  26. Janet Gruber
    Sep 04, 2011 @ 17:21:39

    This is also an interesting perspective on the law and how it should be applied: http://www.prisonplanet.com/appeals-court-rules-it-is-not-illegal-to-film-police.html

    It seems when the Sheriffs threatened to ‘haul Debe away’ if she took any more pictures of their illegal raid, they were AGAIN themselves violating the law.

    And to Joe in Missouri, you are reading things into my post I never said. You and I are on the same side, how about taking another look at my point?

    Reply

  27. inalienablewrights
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 12:47:49

    See the big picture my friends. This is the UN/globalist Codex being implemented. To create a food monopoly and to control us. Realistically I don’t expect any outcry until it is too late. People are IMHO that dumbed down for that.

    Reply

  28. Mette
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 19:59:20

    Remember a Bill of Attainder is illegal in all State Constitution and the US Constitution.

    United States Constitution Article I, Section 9, Clause 3,
    No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
    United States Constitution Article I, Section 10, Clause 1,
    No State shall … pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, …
    U.S. CONST. Fifth Amendment, in part:
    No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;

    FDA, USDA, Health Boards, etc are Executive Branch and not judicial branch.

    United States v. Brown, 381 US 437 (1965), The Bill of Attainder Clause was not intended as a narrow, technical and soon to be outmoded prohibition, but rather as an implementation of the doctrine of “separation of powers,”[22] a safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function as to prevent trial by legislature. Brown at 442.

    “in a representative republic … where the legislative power is exercised by an assembly … yet not incapable of pursuing the objects of its passions … ,” barriers had to be erected to ensure that the legislature would not overstep [its] bounds. The Bill of Attainder Clause was regarded as such a barrier. Brown at 443-444

    Each one of those individuals along with their supervisors should have criminal charges against them. Also The judge who issued the warrant 6 hours later is a co-conspirator and needs not only a judicial complaint against him for violating the Judicial Cannons but criminal too! , Also for not having the cops arrested who did aggravated criminal trespass. He was aware of a crime and had a duty to take action!

    Reply

  29. inalienablewrights
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 20:05:44

    Mette we don’t have to get so fancy.

    There is nothing in the US Constitution that delegates the power to do anything with food.

    Even if it did it would be null and void as you can not delegate a power which you do not posses yourself or have a law that limits or interferes with Inalienable Rights such as growing food and eating.

    Do we have the power to tell our neighbor that he can not eat a certain food? Then how did government get this alleged power?

    Can we pass laws that regulated how many times a week a can hug your kids? Then how can we regulate what people put into their bodies? They are God given and Inalienable.

    Reply

  30. Mette
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 20:22:21

    You are 100% right, but these executive branch thugs don’t have the authority to take property without due process. I would rather go on the offensive then defensive. They committed crimes under the color of law. Go after them.

    Reply

  31. inalienablewrights
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 20:37:15

    Mette I can agree that a multi-faceted approach makes sense.
    What we need is an approach that registers with the government schooled,
    fluoride water swilling zombies that make up the electorate.

    For me it is nullification. And I sincerely believe that nullification will play a large part in restoring our freedoms.

    Tom Woods at the Nullify now conference in Kansas City:

    Michael Boldin at Nullify Now:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQKbl4RZ73c and
    We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Permission – Part 1

    No one wants to hear it but we have the second amendment for a reason and it is better for the government to fear us than for the people to fear the government. I am sure you have heard the TJ quote.

    Reply

  32. Mette
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 10:39:08

    I won’t argue on nullification, but most governors are put in place by black box voting. By going after the officials legally. Not to mention using jury nullification, we may have a fighting chance. The judges will ignore criminal charges but if we give it to the grand jury directly and they come back with a bill we win. In Texas any public official that gets indicted not necessarily convicted has to be removed from office in 3 days. Not to mention they lose their benefits, retirement, etc. Remember what a Bill of Attainder is. They won’t be expecting that charge. Now how about Outlawry? In the Texas penal code and Constitution it is illegal to make someone an outlaw. An outlaw is someone outside the law for equal rights and equal protection. By violating your rights they made you an outlaw. The officials can be charged with that also. :-) It cost us money to fight civilly. Lets try criminally!

    Reply

  33. Taylor
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 11:53:54

    “Scuse, but it took HOW LONG? before the warrant was issued AFTER THE FACT of the raid
    6 hours.
    So anything seized prior to that is not admissible in court.

    What have we become? a police state?
    Doesn’t that worry any one? It should terrify you because this same mentality is now targeting the Amish farmers who have dairy cows (and heaven forbid, DON’T use the mechanized milking machines and don’t pasteurize their milk (but they DON’T SELL IT so what is the big deal? It is used in making cheese where any issues with it are non issues.

    Lets do the math, How many cages? 180 some, right? 200 rabbits? and yet only 11 photos of evidence. so, that’s what – less than 2,5 percent of the cages had poo in them.

    Were these cages the ones of the 4H kids who clean them on the weekend?
    (12 kids, so, um, maybe.)
    This was copied from the humane society’s web page.
    A rabbit’s cage should be a minimum of five times the size of the rabbit. He should be able to completely stretch out in his cage and stand up on his hind legs without bumping his head on the top of the cage.

    By their own definition, the cages were not cramped.

    While I did see matted fur, (and yes, angora fur mats constantly) I didn’t see evidence of the sores they reported in the photos, Nor did I see the eye issues. In reading the original report , A VET WAS NOT PRESENT DURING THE RAID. Nor did it state when the vet finally DID get a chance to examine them. Come on. How long were the rabbits in the care of the state when they finally were looked at, and were the conditions from the mistreatment that

    Oh,
    About the rabbits, If they have been stressed, mistreated, or ill, their little round poops get to be a nasty smear of a foul by product of their intestines. I didn’t see any of that. I didn’t see underfed rabbits who were laying on their sides with their ribs showing, I didn’t see sores that were infected, or loss of hair or evidence that the rabbits were stressed. (as a former judge for 4H rabbits and rabbit owner I do know what to look for.)

    At the most, perhaps, a warning, and then follow up visit. The issue of the amount of land you need vs the live stock is pretty much what is the real issue.
    And people DO eat rabbit meat. they use the fur for many things and bunnies die. The fact that they were in plastic, In the freezer, and yes, going to be used for food- come on. I have chicken in a bag in my freezer, you going to raid my house for that??
    There are so many wrongs that have been done its appalling.

    Shame on the law for doing this.

    No matter what Debe does, or says in court, it won’t matter. The damage has been done.

    Reply

  34. Trackback: Debe Bell Found Guilty of 35 Counts of Animal Abuse | Truth Farmer
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  37. Connie
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 14:48:06

    Doreen…..I have to say I agree with you….Due Process is being regularly ignored in this country. This is just one example. The Bill of Rights is being trampled upon in many other avenues. I believe any elected official should have to know the Constitution and Bill of Rights, maybe even be tested….School kids should have to study it in the intentions of the Founding Fathers. To look at this situation wouldn’t be so alarming if there weren’t so many other instances of the Bill of Rights and Constitution being ignored or trampled upon….We should be outraged at what they did to this lady and her breeding program. I also beleive she should have been given a chance to correct any problems. This was outrageous….. if they are not held accountalbe then it will happen again and again.

    Reply

  38. InalienableWrights
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 16:04:59

    What many people miss, probably because they were educated in a government indoctrination camp, is that governments were instituted ONLY to protect the inalienable rights of the citizens. They were not instituted to protect the non-existent rights of cock roaches, bacteria, tomato plants, or even rabbits.

    While the neglect or abuse of animals may be viewed as heinous by many, it never should rise to the level of a crime. There are other social pressures that can be brought to bear on people other than kidnapping, theft, and locking them in cages when the non-rights of non-human life forms are alleged to have been violated. Christians of all people ought to understand this.

    Until we understand the reason that we instituted government the solutions are going to be elusive at best.

    Reply

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