Work is underway to strengthen a special investigations unit within the RSPCA to uncover and prosecute illegal and cruel puppy farms, following a $5 million grant from the Andrews Labor Government.
Visiting RSPCA Pets Place in Ballarat today, Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, said the Labor Government was working with the RSPCA to phase out illegal breeding businesses and improve animal welfare.
Earlier this month, the Labor Government fulfilled its election commitment by giving $5 million in funding to the RSPCA for data collation, animal seizure, rehabilitation and care of animals seized from illegal puppy farms.
The Special Investigations Unit will focus on identifying and closing illegal puppy farms, prosecuting rogue operators and caring for, rehabilitating and rehoming seized animals.
This will help to eliminate puppy farms across the state and in particular from our regional communities where the majority of illegal operators exist.
The Labor Government is also progressing its other puppy farm commitments, with consultation already underway to strengthen the Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses to require mandatory pre-mating vet checks and to limit breeding dogs to five litters, as well as amending legislation to restrict the number of breeding dogs in business to 10 by 2020.
Pet shops will also be limited to selling only dogs or cats supplied by registered animal shelters or pounds, while online sellers will be encouraged to work with Government to ensure best practice and compliance with Victorian legislation.
The $5 million in additional resources is on top of the $1 million a year the RSPCA receives in ongoing support from the Labor Government.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford
“We’re working with the RSPCA to crack down on puppy farms and put the welfare of breeding animals first.”
“The RSPCA have commenced work to establish a Special Investigations Unit to inspect illegal and cruel puppy farms and ensure rogue operators have no place to hide.”
“We’ll smash the puppy farm business model across our regional communities.”
Quotes attributable to RSPCA Victoria CEO, Dr Liz Walker
“I am pleased that the Victorian Government has heard community concerns and has taken steps to make this financial contribution towards RSPCA Victoria’s work to close puppy and kitten factories.”
“This support from the Victorian Government will help RSPCA authorised officers target unlawful breeding operations as we work together with local councils to send a strong message to rogue breeders that there is no place for their disgraceful practices here in Victoria.”