RSPCA Urges Public to Have a Say About Dog Welfare
RSPCA WA welcomes the positive moves the WA Government is making to improve the welfare of dogs in Western Australia, and is proud to have been actively involved in this initiative.
Positive inclusions are the introduction of provisions for basic health and veterinary care; provisions for behavioural needs and social enrichment; provision of shelter; regulations around leaving dogs in hot cars or transporting dogs on the back of utes; and the eradication of prong collars in WA.
RSPCA WA encourages all members of the public who are pet owners, or those who simply care about the welfare of dogs in our society, to have their say about these draft welfare standards, to ensure that dogs in our state enjoy the highest welfare possible.
RSPCA WA welcomes this historic opportunity to contribute to the development of standards around the care and welfare of dogs in WA.
As a result of these regulations, no dog owner in WA will be left in any doubt about what is expected of them as responsible pet owners, and this will hopefully lead to these regulations being enforceable by law, so that people who consistently fail to comply with even the most basic welfare standards can be brought to account.
While the draft Standards and Guidelines for the Health and Welfare of Dogs in WA is a step in the right direction, RSPCA WA has concerns about some aspects of the draft that don’t go far enough to protect dogs in WA from fear, pain or distress.
RSPCA WA urges the community to have their say, especially on the following aspects of the proposed standards and guidelines:
- Ban shock collars under all circumstances. RSPCA does not agree that electronic collars should be permitted under any circumstances because the use of electronic collars has been proven to cause fear, pain or distress to the dog and there are more humane and effective ways to modify behaviour in the long term.
- Provide all dogs with minimum space requirements when housed in an enclosure, including working dogs on farms. RSPCA believes that the minimum space requirements should apply to all dogs, regardless of whether they are pets or working dogs.
- Cap the number of breeding female dogs permitted in a “domestic dog operation”. Currently set at five or more, this means that over five years, backyard breeders could potentially produce and sell over 100 puppies without being considered a commercial breeding operation. It is important to adjust this cap down to three dogs, to safeguard the welfare of each litter of puppies, that they have enough people to look after them and get the appropriate level of care needed. RSPCA WA would also like to see a suitable limit on breeding females incorporated either in these Standards or into The Dog Act 1976.
RSPCA WA will be addressing these concerns in its own submission to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), to reinforce our position on these important welfare issues. We will also be highlighting the need to consider how any changes to regulations are to be enforced and by whom, and identify any additional resources required to police the new regulations.
As a charity, RSPCA WA only receives around 6% of funding from Government, with generous donors and community support providing the bulk of the money needed to carry out animal protection work.
HAVE YOUR SAY:
Once you've read the Draft Standards and Guidlines for the Health and Welfare of Dogs in WA, You can have your say in a number of ways:
- Take the online survey;
- Complete the online submission form; or
- Make a full written submission and email or post it in.
The Draft Standards and Guidelines for the Health and Welfare of Dogs in WA can be accessed on the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website here. The deadline for public submissions is 5pm Friday, 7 June.
Comments from RSPCA WA Chief Executive Officer, Iain Torrance:
“RSPCA WA is proud to be involved in making a positive impact to the welfare of dogs in WA and commends the WA Government’s action on this matter. It has taken many years of work to get to this point.
“A welcome outcome from this process will be clearly identified welfare guidelines and standards that will eventually be enforceable by law, and that meet the community’s expectations of what “good welfare” for our dogs actually means.
“Currently, there are dogs in Western Australia who are suffering from poor welfare, but not to the extent as defined in the Animal Welfare Act (2002), so RSPCA WA is currently powerless to act in some cases. These standards will help make it easier for RSPCA Inspectors to identify issues, work with owners to educate them and rectify welfare concerns to prevent suffering and ensure dogs receive at least a minimum level of care.”
“As one of the stakeholders in the development of these guidelines and standards, RSPCA WA will be making a submission during this public consultation period to reinforce our position on some of the aspects of the proposed standards that do not meet expectations and do not reflect our views as the State’s leading animal welfare charity. We urge everyone who cares about the welfare of all dogs to have their say, too.”