LOS ANGELES, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — You’d think that California would be fostering small businesses, especially ones that clean the environment and enhance public safety. Instead, a group of California District Attorneys have cost one 26 year old California small business their largest customer and forced layoffs for 12 employees.
It all goes back to 2009 when California made it illegal to employ the word “biodegradable” on packaging. Many companies hadn’t even heard of the law due to poor communication on the part of the state. And, because the bill never addressed a practical means of enforcement it has become ripe-picking for the cash strapped state which is exploiting the opportunity to carry-out a “money-grab” on par with their $45 parking meter fines.
That’s the experience of Petpro Products, a South El Monte producer of dog waste scoops when they received an URGENT DEMAND from the Solano County District Attorney (representing eight CA districts and Santa Monica) to “IMMEDIATELY” remove their products from sale throughout the state.
In their strongly worded “NOTICE OF IMPENDING LEGAL ACTION BY LAW ENFORCEMENT” District Attorneys claim that because the scoop package contained the words “99% biodegradable” and called the scoop “A Step to a Greener World” - it was illegal to be sold in the state and subject to hefty fines and retroactive penalties.
In an unusual move, the District Attorneys sent the same notice to Petpro’s customers. Immediately over 1,200 stores stopped doing business with the company — including 1,000 stores outside of California. Former customers are now IMPORTING MILLIONS OF POOP SCOOPS FROM CHINA. Due to this, the company has had to lay off loyal staff and reduce orders with California suppliers.
Bart Greenhut, owner of Petpro states: “It doesn’t make sense for enforcement to use severe tactics reserved for dangerous drugs and hazardous materials and apply them to a poop scoop. The District Attorneys actions have substantially destroyed our 26 year old California environmental business and the livelihoods of 22 California families.”
“In my 40 years of experience, it is always customary practice for agencies to provide notice of potential infractions and allow an opportunity to resolve the issue without suffering unnecessary hardship, cost or disruption of business.”
Greenhut continues, “In this case there was no notice, no due process, no investigation, and there was certainly no justification for intimidation and strong-arm tactics. We would have voluntarily changed any aspect of our package if anyone would have asked! Something is seriously amiss when the Attorney General has District Attorneys occupying their time shaking-down small businesses and putting good Californians out of work.”