Dogs NSW has called for the proposed Companion Animals Amendment (Puppy Farms) Bill to be scrapped, stating it will foster black-market trade.

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

Furthermore, it seeks to prohibit the sale of puppies through pet stores that are not from a rehoming organisation. The Bill ignores that pet stores already have safeguards in place with current local Government codes of practice and traceability via microchipping.

Lyn Brand, President of Dogs NSW, said the Bill is a knee-jerk reaction and poorly thought out.

“Puppy farms are an abhorrence. But the Animal Justice Party’s Bill will not deter them, it will encourage them. It will create huge incentives for unlicensed backyard operators, while legal, registered, professional breeders will be the collateral damage.

“The result will be consumers being forced online to buy pet dogs from unregulated breeders, risk being scammed out of thousands of dollars and potentially end up with a poorly bred dog with health or behavioural problems.”

Brand says the Bill will have dire consequences for the professional breeders, owners, and hobbyists represented by Dogs NSW such as the demise of dog breeding and dog shows, a clampdown on pet ownership of companionship animals, an increase in panic disposal or euthanasia of animals, and the extinction of many breeds due to enforced decimation of the gene pool.

The organisation has pointed to a number of key flaws in the Bill, including the banning of pet shops, which Brand says accounts for less than five per cent of all puppy sales and are the most transparent sector of the pet industry.

Other flaws identified by Dogs NSW, include:

  • A maximum of two litters for any breeding bitch/queen – after which they must be       desexed.
  • Desexing of males at the age of six-years-old.
  • Powers to invade homes and seize animals.
  • Outsourcing of enforcement, compliance, and registrations to local councils.
  • A staffing ratio of one person to five animals at registered breeding premises and animal shelters – higher than the human ratio of nurses to residents in aged care facilities. It means shelters, which currently have a 1:20 ratio, must hire four-times as many staff.
  • Criminalising the breeding of dogs with no right of appeal.
  • An enforcement regime with fines/penalties of $110,000 and two-year jail terms.

Dr. Rob Zammit, acclaimed veterinarian, said the Bill will make the breeding of dogs too difficult for professional breeders, leaving it up to unscrupulous dog mills.

“Dogs should be available to everyone but if Emma Hurst’s Bill passes through Parliament, dog ownership will become a thing of the past in NSW.”

Brand says legitimate breeders will be treated like criminals if they don’t comply, which is a travesty of justice.

“Instead of rushing through an ill-thought-out Bill, all stakeholders need to work together to achieve good animal welfare outcomes. Legislation must be based on facts, science, and experience, not on political motivations or spurious, ignorant agendas that threaten to undermine our industry and obliterate dog ownership.”

Hearings on the Bill are due to commence in NSW Parliament on 6 April, 2022.