Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules for Ag Groups' EPA Data Breach Suit Regarding Disclosure of Personal Information



       On September 9, 2016, in the case of American Farm Bureau Federation et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al., Case No. 13-cv-1751, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the federal appellate court revived a bid by two farm groups to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from releasing addresses and other information about large-scale animal farms under the Freedom of Information Act, finding that exclusive of the mandates of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the provision of such data to environmental groups is actually a privacy violation.

       The American Farm Group Federation and the National Pork Producers Council sued the EPA in July 2013 after the agency released the names, addresses and GPS locations of farms that keep animals in close confinement in several states. Environmental groups, including Food & Water Watch, had requested the information, and the plaintiffs sought to prevent further disclosures.

       U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery found that Clean Water Act regulations for pollution discharges require farmers to disclose their location to state agencies and that the information must be made public under federal regulations. The plaintiffs argued that the EPA's release information would be an invasion of their privacy and should have qualified for an FOIA exemption.  But the judge held they lacked standing because they failed to show an imminent injury. The information was already available on Minnesota and Iowa environmental agencies' websites and easily found by searching their databases, according to the lower court opinion.

       The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council asked the court to reverse a lower court's ruling that killed their challenge to the EPA's disclosure of their members' personal information as it related to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO's), saying the agency had misapplied an exemption under FOIA that's meant to protect personal privacy.  The farmers argued to the appeals panel that the Supreme Court has held that "the law recognizes a right not only to prevent the public disclosure of facts that remain wholly private, but also to control of 'the degree of dissemination' of facts that, although in the public record, nevertheless concern private matters."

       The court of appeals panel sided with the farmers, concluding "the undisputed evidence of nonconsensual disclosures or impending disclosures by the EPA suffice to establish an injury in fact that was caused by the agency and is redressable by the court," adding that "disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy ... and it was an abuse of discretion for the agency to conclude otherwise."  "The EPA's disclosure of spreadsheets containing personal information about owners of CAFO's would invade a substantial privacy interest of the owners while furthering little in the way of public interest that is cognizable under FOIA" the panel said.

       The 8th Circuit Court held that just because information about a particular farm owner can be obtained through publicly available sources does not mean privacy interests go out the window, highlighting an important distinction between merely accessing information and the likelihood of the public to actually focus on that information.

       "The agency's release of the complete set of data on a silver platter, so to speak, eliminates the need for requesters and others to scour different websites and to pursue public records requests to create a comprehensive database of their own," the court said. "If the information were so easily accessible, then it is passing strange that the parties would engage in protracted and expensive litigation to secure it through the Freedom of Information Act."

       This case provides The Cavalry Group, its members and other animal owners/enterprises with a solid argument to contest USDA's and other agencies' disclosure of private and personal information being solicited by animal rights and other activists/organizations.

Kurtis B. Reeg, Esq.

Partner, Goldberg Segalla
Legal Counsel for The Cavalry Group


Information for this article also came from Portfolio Media, Inc. and Law360
To view the case file, click here



Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Book Reveals Dog Shows Promote Dogs

By Jay Kitchener

Book Review:  The Dog Merchants by Kim Kavin

It takes an activist with a degree in journalism to inform us that dog shows promote dogs, and when two dog shows appear on national television, it’s the cause of all substandard dog breeding.  If Kavin really holds a degree in journalism, she might want to ask for her money back.  It’s not journalism to plagiarize the propaganda of controversial animal rights groups.  The source pages in her book are thick with references from the shady Humane Society of the United States.

A self-described expert on the luxury lifestyle of yachts, Kavin misses the boat when it comes to getting this story right.  Somebody throw her a life preserver.  She’s drowning in propaganda.
When a book claims to “expose” the commercial dog breeding and rescue industries, it gets my attention.  I give this activist credit for visiting the Hunte Corporation’s commercial kennels.  Unable to say anything bad about the Hunte facility, Kavin throws responsible journalism overboard and jumps the shark to claim that televised dog shows cause substandard dog breeding. 

The day before the book’s release, Kavin crowed on the Facebook page for her book, “My op-ed in today's Albany Times-Union, urging New York State lawmakers to go beyond passing ‘pet store puppy mill’ bans and also outright evict the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show--the type of event that the American Kennel Club itself calls a huge marketing asset for the business model of commercial-scale puppy farms nationwide.”

Calling for the censorship of an annual American television tradition is not journalism, it’s activism.

In the book Kavin flops around like a fish out of water.  She can’t even get a reference to Prohibition right.  She points out the obvious that government prohibition of alcohol created a black market for alcohol.  However, she fails to make the obvious connection that the kind of government prohibition she’s advocating for would create a black market for dogs.

The Prohibition Movement began as a ban on the sale of alcohol on Sundays only.  It seemed reasonable and most folks supported it.  But over time the movement grew and the mission expanded to become a complete ban on the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol in public and in private.  This is exactly where we are heading with the kind of government prohibition Kim Kavin is proposing on dog breeding. 

It wasn’t illegal to drink during prohibition, and it won’t be illegal to own a dog in Kavin’s world.  It will just be illegal to breed a dog in Kavin’s world. 

American’s didn’t stop drinking during Prohibition, they just drank different alcohol—bootleg alcohol.

Americans won’t stop owning dogs in Kavin’s world, but they won’t own purebred dogs. 

Led by the controversial Humane Society of the United States, activists in more than 120 communities across the United States have forced their propaganda on local governments and bullied them to mandate that you many not buy a puppy from a professional breeder in a legitimate pet store, and that you may only buy a puppy in the store supplied by a shelter or rescue organization.  The problem is that these shelter and rescue organizations no longer sell animals in need of homes from the local community.  These organizations now primarily sell animals imported from unknown sources in far-away states and foreign countries with no regulation and no oversight.

The bans on the sale of animals in legitimate pet shops from professional breeders presumes that those breeders are unprofessional and sub-standard.  If that’s true, why would Kavin mandate that your next puppy must come from a mysterious place that might be even worse?

These bans mandate that the public may only purchase animals in a pet shop supplied by shelters and rescue organizations.  Animals sold by shelters and rescue organizations are exempt from consumer protection laws that cover animals sold by breeders.  Why would Kavin remove these protections for consumers and animals?

Government is working hard with activists like Kavin to make sure your next puppy comes from mysterious sources. 


What do you call a book based on propaganda?  More propaganda.  The Dog Merchants by Kim Kavin is one activists’ opinion trying to pass as balanced journalism. 

Written by Jay Kitchener who is a leading advocate in the purebred dog industry. Jay has been on the forefront in preserving the rights of dog breeders and animal owners, and recently helped in turning back an effort to ban retail pet sales in Maine. Jay is now serving as the New England Regional Director for The Cavalry Group.




Sunday, May 1, 2016

Why Celebrate National Purebred Dog Day?

Why do we need National Purebred Dog Day? Because the propaganda of the hostile political movement of animal rights has forced changes in laws all across the nation.

In my state of Maine, the shelter and rescue industry has driven the hostile propaganda of the political animal rights movement to the point of absurdity.

They say don't buy a puppy from a family unless you can see both of the puppy's "parents" on site. Never mind that the male dog doesn't live there. If he's not present, then they must be a you-know-what. It's the law now.

Make sure you get to see the family's entire house. If it's not absolutely perfect in all aspects including things that have nothing to do with raising puppies, then they must be a you-know-what. It's the law now.

If you think the family, in your expert opinion, might be a you-know-what, then be sure to make a couple of phone calls. First, call the state's animal welfare program. You don't have to give your name or anything. Just tell them where you were and that you think they are a you-know-what. Just one anonymous phone call is all it takes.  It's the law now.

That family will soon get a visit from animal welfare agents, accompanied by the police with guns, because of your anonymous phone call. It's the law now.

That family will also receive a visit from Child Protective Services, and all the neighbors will see, because "everyone knows" that anyone who is a you-know-what also abuses children. It's the law now.

Finally, be sure to call the Humane Society of the United States. If the family you just ratted out gets convicted, you get $5,000.00 cash.

Yay, you.

This is why we need National Purebred Dog Day. When there are no more breeders, there will be no more dogs.

If you think the source of your dog makes you a better person, then you don't need a dog, you need a therapist.

My dog. My Choice. Ditch the Guilt. Take back the conversation.




Written by Jay Kitchener who is a leading advocate in the purebred dog industry. Jay has been on the forefront in preserving the rights of dog breeders and animal owners, and recently helped in turning back an effort to ban retail pet sales in Maine. Jay is now serving as the New England Regional Director for The Cavalry Group.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Why Are We So Quick To Dance With The Devil?

The news out of New York City gets worse by the day.  A group Ed Sayres created and funded (NYCLASS or New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets) to destroy a political candidate and a traditional animal business is now under federal and state investigation.

This is very serious.

I've spent the last decade of my life opposing Ed Sayres and the lies and misinformation he was handsomely paid to produce to attack all animal enterprises.  You'll have to forgive me if I'm skeptical of his alleged change of heart now that he claims to be in favor of pet shops and commercial pet breeders.
Jay Kitchener testifying in opposition
to LD 335 in Maine. Photo Credit:
Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal


When I fought hard last year in my state of Maine against LD 335, a bill to prohibit sales of dogs and cats from out of state commercial breeders, I never once saw Ed Sayres in the room to testify and oppose LD 335.  What I do recall is the first legislative conference call we had with Ed Sayres where his first statement was, “Pet shop owners need to have a Plan B."

What was Ed's Plan B, I wondered?

Why are pet stores so quick to partner with the man who still says, "Adoption should always be everyone's first option"? See his recent testimony before Arizona House Agriculture, Water and Lands Committee where he states it here.

Although Ed Sayres has left the sleazy and controversial ASPCA in Manhattan, the propaganda he produced while he was employed there has had its intended effect.  The elephants are gone from the circus, and the orcas will soon be gone from Sea World.  Do you really think it's going to be any different with dogs in pet shops?

Perhaps the day Ed apologizes to the Feld family (owners of Ringling Brothers Circus) and tries to refund some of the more than $20 million they spent to fight him, then I'll feel a little better.  Or perhaps the day Ed apologizes to Sea World I'll feel a little better.  But it will never bring back the elephants or the orcas.
Why are pet stores so quick to partner with the man
who says, "Adoption should always be everyone's first option."


If Ed Sayres had such a change of heart after a decade of serving as a highly-paid executive with a national stage, what do you think it would take for him to have a change of heart and return to his roots?  I'm not convinced that if Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States, or Ingrid Newkirk of PETA offered Ed Sayres a pile of cash to bat for their teams that he would turn it down. Why should he?

After spending several years putting together the controversial political hit group NYCLASS while still at the helm of the equally controversial ASPCA in New York, Sayres walked away from those organizations in 2013.  

Then in 2014 Sayres appeared as the president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) in Washington, DC—the very group Sayres had been handsomely paid to defeat for a decade.

Sayres served at the helm of PIJAC in 2015, then quietly became a “special advisor” to them in 2016.  

There’s a problem here.  Since 2013 more than 120 communities across the nation have passed the radical legislation to prevent pet shops from selling breeder’s animals—the very same radical legislation that Ed Sayres spent his career at ASPCA preparing to unleash on the country.  This legislation is the same all over the nation.  This cookie cutter legislation prohibits pet shops from selling animals from licensed and inspected kennels and mandates that pet shops may only sell animals from unknown sources provided by shelters and rescue groups like the ASPCA.  This legislation comes straight from the playbook of ASPCA and the other controversial animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States and PETA.  

I don’t believe for a minute that Ed Sayres had an epiphany in 2014 and decided to join the very group defending pet shops and commercial breeders from the same legislation Sayres spent a decade crafting.

I do believe, Ed Sayres did not join PIJAC to prevent the government-forced transition from purposefully and professionally bred pets in pet shops.  Ed Sayres joined PIJAC to facilitate the government-forced transition to only randomly sourced animals in pet shops.  Was this the “plan B” to which Sayres referred in the first conference call with pet shop owners nationwide?

To this day Sayres defends his position against the New York City horse carriage industry. To this day he defends his misguided positions against the circus and Sea World.  Are we expected to believe he has truly had a change of heart when it comes to professional commercial dog kennels?  I’m not buying it.

Now that both the United States Attorney and the Manhattan District Attorney have subpoenaed the group NYCLASS that Sayres helped create, it’s a fair question to wonder if the mushrooming investigation will extend to Sayres at some point.  If it does, then the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council will have egg on its face, and Ed Sayres might want to have his own “Plan B.”

"When he asks you to dance you had better say never because a dance with the devil could last you forever."


Written by Jay Kitchener who is a leading advocate in the purebred dog industry. Jay has been on the forefront in preserving the rights of dog breeders and animal owners, and recently helped in turning back an effort to ban retail pet sales in Maine. Jay is now serving as the New England Regional Director for The Cavalry Group.




video

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Destruction of Private Ownership of "Wild" Animals

The Cavalry Group and its members are all too familiar with the lies and facades that the animal rights groups use, working through government agencies to implement their agenda to eliminate the human animal bond, animal ownership, and private property.

In Texas, Carter Smith, the Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), ordered the destruction of perfectly healthy whitetail deer of private owners on deer farms across the state of Texas, wielding his power, and creating a fake crisis to usurp the rights of the property owner.

Under Carter Smith's sole discretion and direction, TPWD has been destroying perfectly healthy privately owned whitetail deer across the state of Texas under the faux crisis of Chronic Wasting Disease, also known as CWD.  According to the Center for Disease Control, there is no evidence that CWD poses any threat to humans who consume a deer with the disease, nor is there any way the disease could spread to domestic livestock. Infection rates among your average white-tailed deer linger at less than 1%. Infected deer can live quite a long time with the disease, produce healthy fawns, and remain nearly symptom free until their deaths.

Thousands of healthy whitetail deer have been
killed under the direction of Carter Smith, executive
director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


This effort in Texas is eerily similar to government agency abuse of power on private ownership of big cats, primates, bears, elephants, killer whales, birds of prey, even squirrels and raccoons currently wreaking havoc on law abiding animal owners across America today.  

But in Texas, Carter Smith is using the non-crisis of CWD to take away the rights of law abiding deer owners through deceit, manipulation, and intimidation while forcing his destruction of their property. This is certainly NOT a plan to help animals.

What You Can Do

Please sign the attached petition to urge Texas Governor Abbott to remove Carter Smith from his position at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. You do not need to be from the state of Texas to sign the petition.



For more information about this urgent matter, listen to Alan Warren Outdoors and his episode that directly addresses this issue. Listen HERE

THANK YOU for you for taking action on this important matter.  It is vital that we hold these unelected bureaucrats accountable and require them to abide by the LAW. 

The Cavalry Group Team




Monday, March 21, 2016

Activists Announce Pet Shop Ban in Portland, Maine

After failing to achieve a state-wide ban in Maine in 2015 on the four pet shops that sell dogs and cats in the state, activists announced plans this week to re-introduce the ban in Portland, Maine “by the end of the month.”  There are no pet shops that sell dogs and cats in Portland. 

More than 120 communities across the United States have mandated in law that you may not buy a puppy from a professional breeder in a legitimate pet store, and that you may only buy a puppy in the store supplied by a shelter or rescue organization.  The problem is that these organizations no longer sell animals in need of homes from the local community.  These organizations now primarily sell animals imported from unknown sources in far-away states and foreign countries.  This is the phenomenon of retail rescue.

In 2015 the Maine Legislature passed the ban on the sale of professionally bred animals in pet stores with strong bipartisan support.  The governor vetoed the law, and it died.  Now, the same players who failed to get the state-wide ban in Maine are bringing it back at the local level.
One of the biggest supporters of the failed state-wide ban in Maine was Patricia Murphy, Executive Director of the largest shelter in Maine, the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.  According to their 2014 IRS 990 forms, this shelter has almost $11 million in assets.  Murphy is paid a salary in excess of $100,000.00.  In addition, this shelter is currently constructing a new facility with a budget of $6.5 million.

In public testimony in 2015 I told the legislature that Murphy’s shelter was importing animals.  Murphy testified after I did, and she took great exception to my statement.  She broke protocol for testifying to the legislature by straying from her script to address my statement.  She emphatically stated, “We do not import animals.”

The facts indicate otherwise.

According to a survey from Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Maine’s shelters imported 45% of their animals from out-of-state in 2014.  The survey shows that 3,436 dogs and 2,060 cats were brought into the state by Maine’s shelters that year.  The latest numbers from 2015 show a dramatic increase in these numbers with 61% of Maine’s shelter animals coming from out-of-state.  Last year Maine’s shelters imported 4,302 dogs and 3,342 cats.  More than half of the animals in Maine’s shelters now come from out-of-state.

But Murphy still believes her shelter doesn’t import animals.

Only days after Murphy claimed her shelter doesn’t import animals, one of her employees shared a post on social media lamenting how she was stuck in Boston’s rush hour traffic as she made her way to Logan International Airport in Boston to pick up a shipment of “sato” dogs.  “Sato” is Spanish for “stray dog”.

The pricelist for animals at Murphy’s shelter is complicated.  Imported animals are more expensive.  Most dogs sell for $300.00.  Imported dogs sell for $350.00.  Imported kittens sell for $200.00 each. 
According to their Facebook page this shelter sold 253 cats and kittens in December 2015.  If the cats were sold for $200.00 each, that’s over $50,000.00 in revenue in one month from cats alone.  That total doesn’t include additional revenue from 61 dogs and puppies and 15 small animals also sold in that month.

According to state statistics, over half of these animals came from out-of-state.

The proposed ban on the sale of animals in legitimate pet shops from professional breeders presumes that those breeders are unprofessional and sub-standard.  If that’s true, why would government mandate that your next puppy must come from a mysterious place that might be even worse?
The proposed ban mandates that the public may only purchase animals in a pet shop supplied by shelters and rescue organizations. For 25 years Maine’s Puppy Lemon Law has been one of the toughest consumer and animal protection laws in the country.  Animals sold by shelters and rescue organizations are exempt from all terms of Maine’s Puppy Lemon Law.  Why would government remove these protections for Maine’s consumers and Maine’s animals?

Government is working hard with the activists to make sure your next puppy comes from mysterious sources. 


Repeated calls to Murphy for comment were not returned.


Jay Kitchener is a leading advocate in the purebred dog industry and has been on the forefront in preserving the rights of dog breeders and animal owners nationwide. Jay serves as the New England Regional Director for The Cavalry Group.