Getting It Done: Stamping Out Puppy Farms

The Andrews Labor Government has taken a major step towards ending cruel and barbaric puppy farms with the introduction of amendments to the Domestic Animals (Puppy Farms and Pet Shops) Bill 2016.

With $5 million from the Labor Government, RSPCA Victoria’s Special Investigations Unit has conducted 75 investigations, assessed more than 1,600 animals and referred 53 establishments to councils for further investigation.

There have been 10 matters before the courts and the number of Domestic Animal Businesses has been dropping steadily.

The amended Bill caps the number of fertile female dogs a breeder can own and register with their council at 10. Only those breeders meeting strict, additional requirements will be able to keep more than 10 fertile female dogs.

Commercial dog breeders will be limited to an absolute maximum of 50 fertile female dogs, and will be required to apply for a special exemption. They will be subject to an audit by Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer and additional requirements including staff training and socialisation plans.

Members of dog or cat applicable organisations, such as Dogs Victoria, will come under the new definition of a ‘recreational breeder’ and will no longer be required to register with their council, unless they have more than 10 fertile female cats or dogs.

Victorians with 3-10 fertile female cats or dogs that are not members of an applicable organisation will continue to register with their local council as a Domestic Animal Business and comply with the Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses 2015 as they do now.

Pet owners that breed from two or less fertile female cats or dogs are defined as ‘microbreeders’ and will not have to register as a breeder with council.

The amendments also clarify the definition of farm working dogs, and simplify the new animal sale permit system.

The dedication and hard work of our individual foster carers is also recognised through a new voluntary scheme to reduce animal registration costs and increase adoption rates.

Traceability of cats and dogs will be improved significantly through the establishment of the Pet Exchange Register. Breeders, foster carers and members of the public advertising a cat or dog will enrol on the Register.

New rules for advertising a cat or dog (for sale or give away) will require both a microchip number and a unique source number from the Pet Exchange Register, which will enable Victorians to verify pet advertisers for the first time.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

“We’re getting it done and ending cruel and barbaric puppy farming.”

“We’re finishing what we started – delivering on our election commitment to end puppy farming, ban the sale of breeders’ puppies and kittens in pet shops, and better regulate the online sale of dogs and cats.”