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N.C. Opinions: Winston-Salem

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Refocus on puppy mills

From an editorial Thursday in the Winston-Salem Journal:

Gov. Pat McCrory wants to stop the breeding of “man’s best friend” in factory-like puppy mills. Leading Senate Republicans are not averse to that, but they fear that House-passed legislation regulating puppy mills will harm the state’s sizable animal husbandry industry. Think of the huge poultry and swine farms to understand their concerns.

The gap between those two positions should not be the cause of coarse and vulgar personal attacks, but in mid-January it became just that when Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, a veterinarian, denounced McCrory and House leaders in a profanity-laced conversation with constituents who want to protect animals, according to news reports. (To his credit, McCrory responded maturely to Rabon’s remarks.)

Now North Carolinians are asking if Senate leaders can simply behave like adults and write an effective bill that will both satisfy the governor’s concerns and protect animal husbandry.

Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, took the first step in that process Tuesday when he apologized for his uncalled-for profane remarks of mid-January. Given that show of public penance, Rabon is now in a good position to work with his fellow Senate leaders to fashion a reasonable compromise.

But Senate leaders have said that the issue is dead for the 2014 session, not because they consider a solution to McCrory’s concern unattainable but because they are angry that Rabon’s remarks were recorded and provided to the press.

That is an immature, vengeful and non-statesmanlike reaction to this controversy. The senators say they will ignore an issue of importance to North Carolinians because they dislike the tactics of a few supporters of a bill.

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