I am fascinated with the Snowball the deer case for the simple reason that it is one of the most egregious examples of bureaucratic abuse of power in a state where bureaucratic abuse of power is the norm. Honest people can argue about land use policies that effect all Oregonians, but no one who is not insane, stupid, dishonest — or all three — can argue that there is any benefit to anybody, least of all Snowball, in keeping the deer from the Family who loves her or in the expenditure of over $90,000 (so far) in tax dollars to do so.
The Oregon Court of Appeals, a wholly owned subsidiary of the OPEU and the Oregon Democrat Party, ruled on November 26 that Snowball will not be returned to the Filipetti family because they do not have the proper permits to keep her. A pretty weasely decision from a court that has had no problem making up laws with no basis in Oregon’s constitution or reality and who, without resorting to its usual flights of fancy, could simply have ordered ODFW to issue the appropriate permit.
But this case is not about the law, it’s about power.
ODFW has admitted that the Filipetti property meets the standards necessary for keeping Snowball, their chief biologist has stated that the deer was in excellent health (aside from its congenital deformities) when seized, and extremely well cared for.
The ODFW could issue the appropriate permits any time, but has chosen instead to use the power of the state to bludgeon and persecute the Filipettis.
Althought there are specific guidelines fo rthe issueance of permits the Director of ODFW is empowered to issue permits at his discretion (translation: whenever and why ever he feels like it), but ODFW has chosen a different path. According to friends in Salem, at least one of whom spoke directly with the then ODFW Director, immediately after the seizure last year the Director was telling anyone in Salem who would listen that ODFW agents had found a meth lab on the Filipetti property in one of the slimiest smear campaigns ever undertaken. Funny how we didn’t see the State Police hazmat team in there decontaminating the property and hauling away the Filipettis in handcuffs.
The Governor could order ODFW to issue the appropriate permits and return Snowball, but that would mean that he would actually have to do something besides sit on his ass and wait for Chip Terhune and Tim Nesbitt to tell him what to do.
In a classic example of fascistic bureaucratic logic Ron Anglin, wildlife division chief for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said of the State’s legal expenditures “There would have been no cost at all if they hadn’t picked up the deer to begin with.” The parallel with the law enforcement officials who used to tell minorities that if they didn’t want to get assaulted for insisting on their civil rights that they shouldn’t insist on their civil rights is scary. Maybe it’s just imagination, but I can almost hear Mr. Anglin sniff and turn on heels after making this remark.
Snowball is now the star attraction at a wildlife park where, by the way, she has less room that she did at the Filipettis. If I was cynical I would say that the management of the wildlife park wanted to hang onto her for financial reasons and that their friends at ODFW are using tax dollars and government power to see that the park doesn’t lose a money making attraction.
Why should you care about Snowball and the Filipettis? It’s simple. Any bureaucracy willing to go to these ridiculous lengths over a pet deer is capable of any abuse of its citizens.