Editorial | Senator shows man can indeed bite dog.

January 31, 2014 

The following editorial appeared Friday in the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer:

N.C.State Sen. Bill Rabon isn’t known for stomping on puppies. Quite the opposite, actually: When he’s not working as a lawmaker, Rabon is a veterinarian in Southport.

But he did some stomping last week on a group of constituents who back a bill that sets minimum treatment standards for dogs used in large-scale commercial breeding.

The high-ranking legislator (he made sure the group understood he was Very Important in the Senate) lost his temper, used coarse language and blasted the bill and its proponents.

The bill’s leading advocates include Gov. Pat McCrory and his wife, Ann, who have urged the Senate to follow the lead of the House, which passed the “puppy mill” bill last year. The Senate refused to consider it.

What Rabon didn’t know is that his outburst was recorded. Meeting participants released it to the media. Rabon sounded very much like a mean-spirited bully.

The recording drew a blast from Rabon and other Senate leaders, who vowed that the bill would never pass in the Senate. But Rabon apologized this week and vowed to work “to protect the welfare of dogs and make sure they are treated humanely.”

OK, senator. We'll take you at your word. If the House bill is defective, produce a compromise that’s better. Get it passed this year. Humane treatment is part of a veterinarian’s job, isn’t it?

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