By ALLISON HORE
State member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, has announced that he will be co-sponsoring a bill to ban puppy farming in NSW.
The legislation, being proposed by Emma Hurst of the Animal Justice Party, would bring an end to the practice of puppy farming where large numbers of puppies are bred for profit in intensive operations.
“Mother dogs are forced to pump out litter after litter in small, barren pens until their bodies can no longer cope,” Ms. Hurst said.
“Because of the lack of exercise and pressure on the body to produce repeat litters, many breeding dogs also suffer from painful health conditions.”
On Tuesday Mr. Greenwich lent his support to the bill and announced he was signing on as co-sponsor for it.
“The Animal Justice Party NSW have worked hard to expose the cruel dog breeding practices that occur in NSW, this bill will put an end to that,” Mr. Greenwich said.
“I’m looking forward to working with Emma and other parliamentary colleagues to get the bill passed through parliament as soon as we can.”
Victoria has recently passed legislation banning puppy farms and Western Australia is moving to do the same. But running a puppy farm is currently legal in NSW, and there are few regulations about who can do it. Due to this, puppy farms from interstate have begun relocating to NSW.
“Puppy farmers like this are now surging across the border, knowing that our weak laws fail to protect dogs from this sort of cruelty,” Ms. Hurst said.
There is no comprehensive breeder licensing scheme in NSW which means it can be very difficult to know how many puppy farms are running across the state. However, the RSPCA estimates there may be upwards of 200 puppy farms across NSW and says they are “strongly opposed to puppy farming”.
“We advocate regulation of the breeding, supply and sale of companion animals to help set minimum standards and stamp out puppy farms,” the RSPCA says on their website.
Last month, two puppy farms in regional NSW were raided by the RSPCA over allegations of “extreme animal cruelty”. The farms in Inverell and Wagga came to the attention of authorities after allegations a pregnant 10-month old boxer named Strawberry died after being denied veterinary care for four days.
Strawberry successfully gave birth to three pups from her litter before she fell ill and was unable to give birth to the rest of the litter. An alleged former employee of the farm said over the days before the dog’s death she was “basically rotting from the inside out”. The same employee identified two puppies for sale in WA pet stores as being survivors of the litter.
The Animal Justice Party says puppies born in puppy farms, and sold on to “unknowing customers”, can suffer from a range of health and behavioural issues as a result of unsanitary conditions on farms, inadequate veterinary care, improper socialisation and inbreeding.
According to the RSPCA, puppy farms produce all kinds of dogs- purebred, crossbred and mixed-breed. Puppy farm pups can also be sold anywhere including through internet listings, newspaper ads, markets, car boot sales and pet shops. This means there is no way to tell the dog you are looking at on the screen or in a pet shop is not from a puppy farm.
“The only way to know for sure that you’re not supporting a puppy farm is to visit the place in which the puppies were bred and meet the parents,” the RSPCA said.
“Never buy a pet sight unseen over the internet.”
Currently the RSPCA only has the power to remove dogs from puppy farms is there is a proven act of animal cruelty.
The Animal Justice Party’s online petition in support of the bill currently has just under 33,000 signatures.