Speciale defends comments on puppy mill bill

Posted May 11, 2013

— 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."

Rep. Michael Speciale Lawmaker defends puppy mill comments

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.


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  • kikinc May 13, 2013

    Not a fan of this guy, but I can detect sarcasm. He was pointing out that the bill is ambiguous. He may not have went about it the best way, since it's obvious a lot of people missed his point, but he held some truth in his statements.

  • Damien Thorne May 13, 2013

    "I'd like to take this legislator out for some exercise across the living room floor... Perhaps if he had a understanding of God's message to treat all his creations with respect and love then he would know how to treat a dog"----oddportal

    Perhaps if you read the article you might have a better understanding of what he was trying to accomplish.

  • Damien Thorne May 13, 2013

    "I kinda get what he's saying, but he's still stupid. "Exercise" and "Human euthanasia" are not ambiguous concepts."----potterotherp

    When it comes to "interpreting" the law they are very ambiguous.

  • Damien Thorne May 13, 2013

    "The fact that this so called representative did not apologize for his statements, or back down from them..... speaks volumes about his character - or, rather, the lack of! Man - you are a disgrace to this state! And I won't back down from that statement."----heelzfan4

    Perhaps you should actually read the article and quit making yourself a disgrace.

  • Damien Thorne May 13, 2013

    "I hope he does not have a dog. apparently he needs anger management classes! This representative does not care for canines who cannot defend themselves in the hands of a dishonest breeder, but he does not mind reaching into the lives of women and children health decisions."----billfranrichardson

    It never ceases to amaze me at the sheer ignorance displayed by some of these posters.

    Here you have a legislator pointing out that this bill does nothing to help the animals, yes in a very drastic way meant to point out stupidity, and here people are defending dogs against this guy.

    It took me 30 seconds to read the article and understand that this legislator is trying to make things better for animals by pointing out the shortcomings in this bill. Those statements he made could be considered LEGAL even with this bill.

    Makes me wonder if there are people mills, only way to explain just how incompetent some people are. Shocked they could even create an account to post.

  • lrfarms27572 May 13, 2013

    people obviously don't know how to read and interpret.

    The "founders" of the bill say they got the care guidelines directly form the AKC, yet the AKC does not back the bill among plenty of other dog groups.

    Doesn't that seem ironic to anyone?

    No, lets just throw mud at the representative who actually reads the bills and is actually trying to do something positive.

    you people are fools.

  • RDcallsit May 13, 2013

    it honestly reads and sounds to me like the truth being spoken. when you follow up the story with the notation at the end regarding racism, it very much likely is honestly and truth coming forward. people don't want to hear or speak the truth much these days so Get to It, New Bern Republican Rep. Michael Speciale. I agree. if the bill is not open, straight forward with the most minute detail, then everyone accused... I mean in the puppy mill business will simply skirt around the edges and nothing will be accomplished. I'm a 7 time RESCUE Owner and I've seen what happens to these neglected animals who are bred until they no longer can - they are discarded like trash, KILLED. The most loving pets I have ever had are RESCUES from PUPPY MILLS because these animals, these sweet loving creatures just want to love and be loved. TELL IT, Mr. Speciale.

  • lawdawg302 May 13, 2013

    I may not agree with this Representative's wording, but I appreciate his standing by his comments. I am sick of rubber spined politicians, pivoting and rendering meaningless apologies for every unpopular statement. I want real leadership, and officials who mean what they say.

  • innocent bystander 3 May 13, 2013

    While he may have had a point about the bill being too vague, the sorry way in which he chose to make his case did nothing to win any support for his argument, even within his own party. That is not the mark of an effective legislator. If this is the best this man has to offer then he won't last past this term.

  • jgilchr May 12, 2013

    Send him home in 2014!