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Animal welfare activists attack dog breeding project

The RSPCA describes a puppy farm as an “intensive dog-breeding establishment operated under inadequate conditions which do not meet the behavioral, social and/or psychological needs of dogs”.

John Grima’s proposal to develop a dog-breeding facility to supply poodle crosses to his Kellyville Pets store has drawn opposition from residents and animal welfare activists.Credit:Louise Kennerley

Mr Grima said his proposal was not a puppy farm and would ‘dramatically improve animal welfare outcomes’.

“The dogs we raise are not the same breed as those found in shelters,” he said. “The demand isn’t going away, but by raising the standards we can help force rogue operators who don’t care about animal welfare out of the industry.”

John Grima stated that the proposed dog breeding facility was not a puppy farm and that he "dramatically improve animal welfare outcomes"

John Grima said the proposed dog-breeding facility is not a puppy farm and will “dramatically improve animal welfare outcomes”.Credit:Christian Stokes

The development application submitted by Mr. Grima’s Rockley Valley Park Pty Ltd proposes the construction of a 60-dog breeding facility on a 100-hectare property in Fosters Valley, 21 kilometers south of Bathurst.

The $841,000 development includes grassed exercise yards, insulated kennels with under-slab heating and socialization yards, grooming facilities and a vet inspection area, an air-conditioned whelping shed with yards outdoor exercise areas and a training center to teach dog husbandry techniques.

John Grima said the proposed dog breeding facility is designed to address concerns about puppy farms.

John Grima said the proposed dog breeding facility is designed to address concerns about puppy farms. Credit:Louise Kennerley

High fences and “trees that don’t feed koalas” are proposed to protect koala habitat that adjoins part of the property.

Mr Grima said the breeding activity would be based on veterinary advice and would exceed standards set by law and animal welfare groups.

“Breeding dams will be asexual and rehomed between four and a half and five years of age and will not be allowed to whelp no more than five times, and only then based on vet approval,” he said. “All breeding males will be sexless and rehomed at age seven.”

Pet breeding

The Bathurst Regional Council received 41 bids regarding the proposed dog breeding operation, including four that were submitted late.

“Issues raised in the submissions relate to effluent management, noise, potential impact on koala habitat, animal welfare issues and the ethics of commercial dog breeding,” according to Neil Southorn. , Director of Environmental Planning and Council Building Services.

Mr Southorn said council would consider whether the proposed dog-breeding facility is permitted under the local environmental plan, any development controls, site suitability, likely environment, social and economic impacts and the public interest.

Mr Vince said the motivation for dog breeding was financial “and we have found that when money is the primary motivation, animal welfare becomes a secondary consideration”.

“There are many cases of dog breeders shockingly treating dogs, and we don’t have to go far to find evidence of animals being kept in squalid conditions and suffering from neglect or untreated problems” , did he declare.

Mr Vince has launched a petition asking the Bathurst Regional Council to reject the development of a ‘puppy farm’, which has received over 5,400 signatures. He said NSW law was “toothless” when it came to puppy farms.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said the organization supports stricter animal welfare protections and tougher penalties.

“It is important to note that it is possible to be a responsible pet breeder and ensure high welfare standards for animals sold for profit, and individual breeders should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. per case in terms of welfare standards,” she says.

Mr Grima said the types of dogs people want – a decision influenced by the size of their yard and their lifestyle – sometimes aren’t found in pounds or shelters.

“Most people who come to our store looking for a puppy have already considered a rescue dog but haven’t been able to find a suitable dog at a shelter,” he said.

Strict laws in Victoria

The proposal for a dog breeding establishment follows changes to Victorian laws in December that restrict the number of fertile females dog breeders can keep and allow pet shops to only sell dogs and cats from shelters, pounds or registered foster families.

Debra Tranter, spokeswoman for animal welfare group Oscar’s Law, which campaigned for the new laws in Victoria, said NSW’s legislation was “weak and ambiguous”.

“The code allows dogs to be bred until they can no longer physically reproduce, there is no cap on the number of litters and there is no cap on the number of dogs that a puppy breeder can keep,” she said.

She also criticized law enforcement in New South Wales: “In New South Wales the puppy mills are self-regulated and it has failed and continues to fail the animals.”

But Mr Grima said the online puppy trade would thrive if NSW followed Victoria’s lead.

“Banning the approved breeding and sale of puppies in pet stores will only drive the online trade where many puppy breeders sell dogs without any responsibility for their health, temperament and the conditions in which they were raised” , did he declare. “That would be a tragedy.”

A spokeswoman for NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said dog keepers must comply with animal welfare laws and an enforceable code of practice.

She said a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry had concluded that banning sales to pet stores would lead to less scrutiny of the pet industry with no reasonable expectation of improved safety outcomes. animal welfare – findings criticized by animal welfare groups.

“Another key finding of the investigation is that the committee found no evidence that the number of animals kept by farmers is in itself a factor that determines welfare outcomes for breeding animals,” said she declared.

The NSW Pet Registry would improve welfare standards through comprehensive tracking of dogs and cats from breeder to owners, she said. “Special attention is given to lifetime restrictions on litters and de-sexing breeding female dogs when they have reached the end of their breeding life.”

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