The hearing for the proposed Companion Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms) Billis set to take place today (Thursday).

The Bill, introduced by the Animal Justice Party (AJP), seeks to eliminateregulated professional dog breeding by severely limiting the number ofbreeding dogs a breeder can have.

John Grima, owner of Kellyville Pets and witness at the hearing, said that bylimiting breeders to no more than ten dogs, it will increase the demand onbackyard breeders.

“Backyard breeding will lead to worse conditions as there will be a lot moresmall breeders out there trying to meet the demand. And by capping the breederto ten dogs, it means that breeders will have to be working another job andtherefore can’t give their full attention to breeding.”

Hugh Gent OAM, President and Chairman of the Board at Dogs Australia, said theshelters and rescues that the AJP seek to endorse as their preferred suppliersof companion animals will be full of the puppies bred by rogue breeders.

“Rather than the eradication of puppy farmers, the AJP Bill will increasetheir presence and profits. It will erode the advances made in the health andwellbeing of dogs by breeders who breed to reduce heritable diseases, andfollow strict breeding codes, as they will have given up breeding under theillogical, draconian, laws promulgated by the AJP.

“The result will be genetic emasculation of pure-bred dogs and familiespossibly, ending up with a poorly bred dog with health or behaviouralproblems,” said Gent.

The Bill also proposes the banning of puppies through pet shops, a sector thatonly accounts for five per cent of all puppy sales and, which Grima believesis the most transparent form of getting a puppy.

“An authority can go into a pet shop at any time, seven days a week, and lookat the records that they are legally obliged to keep and trace breeders backto that point.

“Whereas at a breeder’s place, they can’t just walk onto the property, theyhave to get permission from the breeder and organise a time. They can’t comeunannounced unless they’ve done something really bad and have a warrant tocome and search the premises,” said Grima.

Grima said his customers expect them to have puppies in store and they come toKellyville because of the level of transparency that they provide, and ifthat’s taken away then customers will be forced to go online and potentiallybe scammed or deal with a puppy farm and not know it.

“The best way to remedy the puppy farm situation is to license breeders andlicense pet shop owners and to improve codes of practice to be more in linewith better welfare practices in breeding, because at the moment the codes ofpractice are not strong enough to stop some puppy farms from operating.”

The Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) also believes pet shopsshould be able to sell puppies as they are more visible to both the greaterpublic and the inspectorate for compliance to animal welfare laws.

“Pet shops are the first point of contact to new pet owners and should beendorsed to communicate to consumers on responsible pet sourcing along withownership whether they choice to sell animals or not,” the PIAA said in astatement.

Both Grima and the PIAA pointed at the lack of clarity surrounding the term“puppy farm”, and that there is the need for a legal definition of the termthat all stakeholders agree upon.

“The greatest failure of this proposed bill is that it fails to define exactlywhat a Puppy Farm is but proposes solutions based on the Animal Justiceparty’s agenda. The bill continues to regulate the entire industry throughreductions of breeding and or the selling of animals based on an undefinedmeaning of Puppy Farms,” said the PIAA.

The most widely adopted meaning of the term is the RSPCA’s definition that apuppy farm is “an intensive dog or cat breeding facility that is operatedunder inadequate conditions that fail to meet the animals behavioural, socialand/or physical needs”.

Grima said that despite the RSPCA’s definition, there are other groups andpeople who define a puppy farm as something else.

“There are groups that believe that a puppy farm is anyone who breeds a dogand makes money out of it, even though they may be breeding them in highlyethical conditions. Then there are those that believe a puppy farm is a placewhere dogs are being kept in squalid conditions, with no respect for thebreeding dogs and are just purely there to make money.

“Some of the public think that a puppy farm is a nice place because it’s afarm and you breed dogs so it’s called a puppy farm. We need to create adefinition of what a puppy farm is so we know who to hold accountable.”

Tagged: Dogs Australia, John Grima, Kellyville Pets, PIAA, Puppy Farm Bill

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