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NC Senator apologizes for comments on puppy mill bill

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Listen to Sen. Bill Rabon's unedited conversation

Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, has caught heat for a profanity-laced conversation during which he vowed a puppy mill bill would never pass. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, has caught heat for a profanity-laced conversation during which he vowed a puppy mill bill would never pass.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A North Carolina senator is apologizing for a profanity-laced conversation during which he vowed a puppy mill bill passed by the House would never pass the Senate.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca said Monday that the state Senate doesn't plan to consider dog-breeding regulations later this year after a frank conversation with Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, surfaced.

Apodaca said the participants of a private conversation with Rabon were using their recording to try to force senators into passing the bill that passed the House last year.

In the recording, Rabon can be heard talking with constituents who wanted to know where he stands on the bill, which is designed to set minimum standards for people who keep at least 10 female dogs primarily to breed and sell the offspring as pets

Gov. Pat McCrory and his wife, Ann, have both pushed for the legislation. The governor said last week the "puppy mill" measure was on his 2014 agenda, and urged its passage again Monday.

But Radon said during the conversation that the governor "absolutely no business sticking its nose in the Legislature." Radon also had harsh words for the state House.

"The nature of the beast of the House, they are a bunch of [expletive]. They got heat -- political heat," Radon said. "[The House] said, 'We can no longer sit on this. We know the Senate will not pass it because it is a piece of crap, so we will send it to them and they will take the heat.'"

Rabon, a veternarian, said he plans to introduce his own legislation "when the right time comes."

"I am going to do everything I can do to get you a damned good puppy mill bill," Rabon said. "This is an issue very dear to me. When I do it, it will be a good one. It will be done at right time. It will pass."

McCrory said he was disappointed by Radon's comments, but he won't allow them to detract from the importance of the legislation.

"I was disappointed, but I also learned to move on," McCrory said. "My wife and I are more interested in good policy to protect dogs."

He explained, "We're looking for just basic shelter – water, food -- in these puppy mills. It's not too much to ask for."

Rabon issued a statement Tuesday apologizing for his comments. The senator said he was speaking out of frustration in the heat of the moment.

"While I spoke out of frustration in the heat of the moment, it does not excuse what I said or how I said it," Rabon said. "My comments were both inappropriate and offensive, and I am sincerely sorry."

Addressing the recording, Apodaca said he believed it was "wrong to secretly record private conversations with members of the General Assembly and then threaten to expose those conversations to the media to force legislators to meet specific demands."

In the statement, Rabon said he believed the conversation was off-the-record.

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