Ozzie is 28 years old with the probability of 2 more years of life. We invite you to join us Tuesday, July 19th, 2016, 12 noon, at the Department of Ecology’s Regional Branch, in Bellingham ’s Fairhaven District (see map below), to seek answers. What are their intentions for the lives of all pets in Whatcom County, and Ozzie in particular?
Last week we shared a post from a Whatcom County rural resident about her problem dealing with the State Department of Ecology (DOE). We shared Kathy and Ozzie’s post because we have heard rumblings from the county that DOE is expanding their compliance programs with real negative effects on rural lives. Well, Ozzie’s story has struck a chord in our county and beyond. (See Kathy’s story below.)
When a state agency comes knocking at your door it is intimidating. They come with the full weight of the state behind them. You can only hope whatever compliance they are seeking will not crush you.
Whatcom County rural land owners are finding there is no easy, quick, or inexpensive way to keep their pets on their acreage when the DOE comes knocking. They are being told they must comply with similar rules and regulations set for commercial farm lands. How does this play-out in the real world? Well, small rural land owners find it difficult to provide a space for their children’s 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) animals. Doesn’t sound right or reasonable, does it? A single horse owner, like Kathy, are rightly confused that her one, 28 year-old horse, now requires a 16 page farm plan, a pipeline and a frost free hydrant to remain grazing in his meadow, his home for the past 20+ years.
Is there proof that Ozzie has contaminated water sources?
Not to the knowledge of his owners. Evidently, Washington’s DOE is now working on the theory they can force compliance to regulations based on the potential to pollute.
We could ask is this the best use of our tax dollars?
Are our pets, 4-H and FFA animals on our rural lands that dangerous? Where is the proof?
Certainly rural pet owners are asking, is this the best use of our personal dollars?
How much can one afford to pay in legal fees to correctly fill out a 16 page Farm Plan that will be attached to any future use of your property, forever? How much can one afford in engineering and installation of pipelines, frost free hydrants and the like? Especially, if your pet only has two more years of life left ….?
What does a rural pet owner do?
Ozzie’s owners have been advised by others in the rural community to remain silent and comply because you do not want to become a target of such a powerful Agency.
This brings us at Liberty Road to the real question. Just what type of bullying atmosphere has the Department of Ecology created in rural Whatcom County that has forced people to believe that a Code of Silence is their best option?
There is an apt synonym for the verb bully: to Cow. It implies reducing someone “to a state where the spirit is broken or all courage is lost”. The state DOE should answer for perpetuating this atmosphere in Whatcom County.
Join us to protest the DOE’s actions on Tuesday at noon, July 19, 2016, at the Department of Ecology’s Regional Branch, in Bellingham ’s Fairhaven District (see map below). Let’s ask what their intentions are for the lives of all pets in Whatcom County and Ozzie in particular.
~ Lorraine Newman and Kris Halterman
- 1440 – 10th Street, Suite 102, Bellingham, WA 98225
- Receptionist: 360-715-5200
Kathy’s Story…”The future for Ozzie”
An update regarding the Department of Ecology and the enormous problem of us having one horse on 3 acres. We received the 16 page “Farm Plan”, which means installing a pipeline and frost free hydrant from the house to the back of the field. I’ve attached the picture they have sent of our property. You can see from the picture what a huge problem this all is! I don’t want to get into politics, but I want to bring up a few points. We have had a horse on this property for 20 years, but now the DOE can come in and say, nope, can’t do this anymore. Why don’t they have to prove there is a problem? Come test the water in the winter and see if it’s contaminated. I’ll guarantee you it won’t be. We have to get away from the ridiculous restrictions that are coming down and deal with facts. There are consequences to all of this. Ozzie is 28, he has a year or 2 left, why can’t we grant him that? We have not had any luck finding him a home. Kelly Park Stables told me how stressful it would be for Ozzie at his age to be moved to new surroundings. Sad.. PLEASE think before you vote or agree with thoughtless regulations. We are the county, our kids should be able to grow up with animals, go to 4-H, show their animals, but that is all going away because you have people that are going to tell us all how we are going to live. I’ve been told if we speak out on video, we will be targeted. We’ve also been told that people from the sustainable groups “look for compliance”. wow, is this the United States of America any more? I think not in Whatcom County.
Liberty Road requested permission to share Kathy Cross’s FB post. The sharing mechanism on FB doesn’t work on a FB Page, so we’ve copy and pasted this post and pictures with their permission from a public sharing on Kathy Cross’s FB page