FBI Uses Recovery of Rescue Dogs to Distract From New Scandal
Reason Magazine's Scott Shackford reports:
Law enforcement officials have tried every trick to attempt to convince Americans to accept civil asset forfeiture, the controversial process that allows the police to take and keep the money and property of those who are suspected, though not convicted, of criminal activity. In particular, police and prosecutors often insist that they need the seized money and property to help fight the war on drugs.
Polls show Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of such seizures.
The FBI, faced with such disapproval, and hoping to protect its controversial methods, has now brought out the big guns: adorable puppies. Among other things, the FBI uses civil asset forfeiture to extricate pups when they raid dog-fighting operations. So the agency has put together a video and story purporting to show how important civil asset forfeiture is for the care and safety of such animals.
The FBI claims that historically it has had to euthanize the animals found in dog-fighting operations because the agency couldn't adopt them out until after the dogs' owners had been convicted. More recently, the FBI says, it has used civil asset forfeiture to get legal control over the dogs more quickly. The FBI explains:
"Typically, when you're dealing with cash or jewelry or some other inanimate object, it doesn't matter if you wait until the end of the criminal case to deal with it," said Mary Hollingsworth, an attorney with the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section in DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). "Dogs may start to decline physically and psychologically after about six months, even in the best shelter setting. They are not meant to be in cages with limited human interaction and exercise for long periods of time."
The implication being the FBI must strip someone suspected of a crime – frequently not found guilty or even charged – of their money and property to keep adorable puppies alive.