A busy 2022 for Dogs Australia has seen it become the public face of the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC), win a Google Grant, and donate $40,000 to the Ukrainian Kennel Union.

Hugh Gent OAM, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Dogs Australia, says the main highlight for him has been the campaign to establish Dogs Australia as the public face of the ANKC.

“In the process we achieved a tremendous lift in our level of engagement with the public and the assistance of Google Grants enabled us to expand our social media platform.”

With affiliated member bodies, the organisation also donated a generous $40,000 to the Ukrainian Kennel Union, which Gent says is, “making sure that the funds transferred will be used properly to save the lives of the dogs and their breeders/owners in the Ukraine”.

What sets Dogs Australia apart from other canine registries, which mainly focus on the commercial side of breeding, is the 17 sporting activities they offer dog owners, says Gent.

Looking forward into 2023, Gent says Dogs Australia will continue supporting its affiliated member bodies in their dialogues with State and Territory Governments in the drafting of new Breeding Regulations, and to use the scientific expertise of its respected academic members to combat the increasing influence with Government Legislators.

The organisation will also continue to be on alert to “animal rights activists masquerading as animal welfare organisations, who seek to achieve their publicly stated objectives of controlling or even eliminating the breeding of dogs as companion animals,” says Gent. “Which of course would impact on all areas of the pet industry.”

Emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, with working from home becoming the new norm, Gent said he noticed a marked increase in the demand for puppies, but that sadly, this didn’t seem to be a continuing trend.

“Towards the end of the year, the pandemic induced demand for puppies by people working from home showed signs of slowing, and rescue organisations and shelters reported an increase in surrenders. This did not really affect Dogs Australia breeders as the numbers of pedigree dogs surrendered is very small and they are quickly rehomed. Our affiliated member bodies have many breed rescue groups under their umbrella who do assist with all breed rescues.”

Gent said that sadly with the increase in the cost of living, including rising interest rates, cost of fuel, and electricity, families are reviewing their spending and reconsidering pet ownership.

“Although we know that there are many people who would starve themselves before they stopped feeding their animals, the cost of pet ownership may prove too costly for some, which would be reflected throughout the pet industry.”

This article was originally published in the Nov-Jan issue of Pet Industry News.

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