Raleigh, N.C. — New Bern Republican Rep. Michael Speciale is not backing down from controversial comments he made during a Thursday floor debate on House Bill 930.
The measure would require commercial breeders with 10 or more female breeding dogs on site to provide the dogs with the American Kennel Club's basic standards of care, like food and water, clean bedding, daily exercise and veterinary care and humane euthanasia when needed.
Speaking in opposition to the proposal, Speciale said it's too ambiguous because it doesn't specifically define those standards.
"'Exercise on a daily basis' – if I kick him across the floor, is that considered daily exercise?" Speciale said. 'Euthanasia performed humanely' – so should I choose the ax or the baseball bat?"
Those comments shocked many of his fellow lawmakers. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, suggested he was joking. Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, called them "disgusting."
Speciale took to his Speciale for NC House Facebook page Thursday night to defend himself. He posted:
There have been some comments in the Raleigh press about some things I said during today's debate on the House floor regarding the Puppy Mill bill, which I found to be a very ambiguous bill, and that was one of several reasons that I opposed it.
My comments were intended to get my point across to the other members about the many ways that some things in the bill can be misinterpreted. I wasn't trying to be humorous, I was serious about how the wording in this bill could be twisted.
One Representative stood up and said that he was disgusted by what has been said, but that was, in my opinion, for the benefit of the Governor's wife, who was sitting in the balcony and who had been supporting this bill that will accomplish nothing. This was a feel good bill that will do nothing for dogs but was passed for the benefit of Mrs. McCrory, and I don't think we were elected to pass useless, feel-good bills.
For those of you who were not there and did not understand the context and the moment, reading my printed words could give the wrong impression, so get off your high horses and do your research before you take what you read as gospel. I will debate as I believe to be most effective, and I will not succumb to political correctness.
Speciale deleted the post after it was bombarded with critical comments.
He didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn't the first time the Craven County freshman has made controversial remarks. In January, he made news for an email rant in which he accused state NAACP President Rev, William Barber of racism.
The "puppy mill bill" passed by a vote of 101-14 and is headed for the Senate.