For several years, DOGSNSW, through its Media and Government LegislationCommittee(MGL), have been seeking relief for its breeder members,from theactivities of RSPCA Inspectors who,in the opinion of DOGSNSW,are interpretingsections of the Animal Welfare Code of Practice –Breeding Dogs and cats in amanner that was not contemplated when DOGSNSW were involved in the preparationof the COP.
On 12thMarch 2018,the committee met with Steve Coleman RSPCA NSW CEO andAndrew Clachers LLB, the Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary todiscuss the operations of the RSPCA Inspectorate, in particular the refusal togive reasons for visits, their interpretation of POCTA Standards andGuidelines, their attitude to our members and the lack of BiosecurityProtocols when entering our members’ premises.The RSPCA representativesrefuted all of the committee’s assertions, despite being shown a StatutoryDeclaration from a member that clearly indicated that the Inspector, whoconducted the audit,demanded compliance with her interpretation of the COP. Asthere was no avenue of appeal against an Inspectors Audit,the RSPCARepresentatives were able to walk away from the meeting without any commitmentto take action on the complaint. The only concession was an agreement for theDOGSNSW Animal Welfare & Community Liaison Officer (AWCLO) to make contactwith the then Deputy Chief Inspector Scott Meyers. The committee continued toreceive reports of Inspectors making up the rules as they went along,however,due to fears of retribution,the breeders concerned were not preparedto make written statements, so the committee did not have any documentation toreapproach the RSPCA.
In late 2020,the announcement was made that the New South Wales Government hadset up a Task Force to crack down on mass dog breeders, the MGL Committeefeared that DOGSNSW breeders would be the first to be audited, as they openlyadvertised their puppies and advertising was stated to be the methodology thatthe RSPCA would be using to identify breeders. Despite the negative outcome ofthe 2018 meeting with the RSPCA, the committee resolved to seek anothermeeting with them to ask again for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) andtheir Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and a commitment to review theInspectorates interpretation of POCTA. To ensure that the RSPCA would take usseriously the committee asked the NSW Chief Animal Welfare Officer, Dr KimFilmer to convene the meeting.The RSPCA Representative at the meeting wastheir Chief Inspector Scott Myers. Once again we were disappointed with theresponse we received, as we were informed that there was no need for an MOUand the only concession made by the RSPCA was that they would consider auditcomplaints from breeders if they were in writing.
On behalf of DOGSNSW, the MGL Committee are pursuing governmental, legal andmedia opportunities to resolve the confusion and distress being caused to ourmembers by the current audit regime.We will be stressing that DOGS NSWbreeders are not what Minister Marshall describes as “these cowboys, thesegrubs that are operating these puppy factories in contravention of the law andalso exploiting animals for their own commercial profit”, rather what RSPCACEO Steve Coleman regards as “the breeders across the state who are doing theright thing and who care very deeply for the animals they work with.”
However,to achieve any result with the DPI or RSPCA, DOGSNSW needs writtenfeedback from breeders who have been audited, to support any claim that theyare targeting Dogs NSW breeders.We need to know numbers, and need to know ifany requirements of the audit were inconsistent with the COP.Without thisinformation we will be trying to prosecute our case with one hand tied behindour back.We will continue working on our members’ behalf,but need theinformation that only you can give.
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