Help Stamp Out Irresponsible Dog Breeding in WA

Help Stamp Out Irresponsible Dog Breeding in WA

Did you know that dog breeding in Western Australia is completely unregulated? There are no laws to protect dogs from puppy farming or any indiscriminate and irresponsible breeders.

A puppy farm is any breeding facility, big or small, which does not meet the welfare needs of dogs bred and raised there. It is a sad fact that many dog breeding facilities in the State fit this definition.

That is why RSPCA WA has been working with the WA Government to change the current situation, and ensure all dogs in WA are protected from indiscriminate backyard breeding.

Our Inspectors see the fallout from irresponsible breeding all too often – unplanned litters being dumped and abandoned, or surrendered when owners find themselves overwhelmed with the responsibility and costs.

The Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020 is currently before WA Parliament. It has been passed in the Lower House, and is due to be debated in the Upper House very soon.

The proposed new laws are a good first step in bringing accountability to an industry that continues unabated in WA.

Indiscriminate dog breeding in WA is the source of so many unwanted, abandoned puppies, many of whom suffer from lifelong conditions caused by inbreeding and a lack of general animal husbandry or welfare.

RSPCA WA is urging every dog owner (and dog lover!) in WA to get behind these proposed new laws, and help stamp out indiscriminate dog breeding in WA.

How you can help:

Please contact the MPs in your Legislative Council electorate who have either said they won't support the new laws or haven't made a decision yet and tell them, as one of their constituents who cares deeply for the welfare of animals, that you want them to support the Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020 when it is debated in Parliament.

We owe it to our pets, and to our consciences, to stop puppy farming.

What do the new laws propose?

  1. All dogs must be sterilised by the time they are two years old, unless exempt.

  2. Information on dogs will be held in a centralised registration system to allow information to be shared across the State.

  3. People who wish to breed dogs will need to register with their local government, enabling all breeders to be traced.

  4. Pet shops that sell puppies and dogs will transition to adoption centres, only permitted to sell dogs and puppies from bona fide rescue groups.

The reforms promise to deliver the most significant animal welfare improvement in WA since the Animal Welfare Act was updated in 2002. For the first time in WA’s history, dogs will be protected from dodgy backyard breeders because all breeders will be required to comply with these regulations. But it will only work if the law is applied to every breeder equally.

Here are some common questions we’ve heard about the proposed new laws:

Will I need to have my dog desexed?

If you already own an unsterilised dog, you can choose not to have them desexed, but you’ll need to obtain an ‘approval to breed’ from your local council. Once approved, there is no requirement that you then breed from your dog – it simply means you’re approved to keep your dog unsterilised.  Some dogs are exempt from mandatory sterilisation, but even then, their owners will need to have this ‘approval to breed’.

Will all owners with an ‘approval to breed’ have to meet minimum standards?

Minimum mandatory standards will be introduced under regulations to the Animal Welfare Act 2002 and a person applying for an ‘approval to breed’ will need to meet these standards.

Can I still buy a puppy?

Yes – under these proposed laws, you will still be able to get a puppy directly from a breeder or rescue group. Every puppy will have a unique ID number which will need to be provided – this traces the puppy to its parents and the person who bred it.

How can I ensure my puppy comes from a breeder meeting the minimum standards?

Local governments will approve applications to register breeding dogs online and this registration will be included on a centralised database.  This will enable puppies to be traced to their parents and the people who bred them.

All breeders registered under this new legislation will need to meet minimum mandatory standards. This also means that in WA, a breeder will not be able to legally sell a puppy that does not have this unique ID number. This will also bring an end to pet shops importing puppies from puppy farms in other states, where owners in WA are not able to trace their new dog’s parentage or know about the conditions in which their new puppy was bred.


If you have further questions about the proposed new laws, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries has a number of excellent fact sheets on their website, or use the links below:

Mandatory Sterilisation and Dog Breeding fact sheet

  • What dogs will be exempt from sterilisation?
  • How does a dog owner apply for approval to breed?

 

Livestock working dogs fact sheet

  • What will the new laws mean for owners of livestock working dogs?
  • Will an owner of a livestock working dog have to obtain approval to breed?
  • What will it cost?

 

Transition of pet shops fact sheet

  • What new changes will the Bill introduce?
  • What will it mean for pounds and rescue groups?
  • How will pet shops be monitored for compliance?

 

Members of Dogs West fact sheet

  • What will the new laws mean for members of Dogs West?
  • Will there be any conditions with which an approved dog breeder must comply?
  • How will the centralised registration system work?

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Comments

  • Joanna Moore:

    30 Jul 2020 00:26:31

    I support all the above positive changes.

  • Shannon Cribben:

    06 Aug 2020 22:45:23

    Thank you for safe guarding the needs of all animals .
    May I enquire though why is it so extremely difficult to find a Breeder in Wa . I have been looking , joining Facebook groups , and emailed many breeders over the last 6 months . They unfortunately seem to have a monopoly. Has the balance between supply and demand has gone completely the other way , I must now wait 18 months if I am lucky . And even then , there is no guarantee . Any rescue shelter does not have suitable dog breeds , although it’s wonderful to see numbers are very low.
    I will now have to consider interstate breeders which has a whole new set of problems due to COVID ,
    I am sorry to burden you but I m sure you can understand my frustration .
    So long as there is such a demand and very little breeders , it will unfortunately only encourage the very thing you are trying to eradicate !
    Regards
    Shannon

  • RSPCA WA:

    27 Aug 2020 09:53:50

    @Shannon: Our position on bringing a new dog or puppy into your home is always Adopt, Don’t Shop. There are so many homeless animals looking for a new home. Of course, if you are unable to find suitable dogs in shelters or through rescue groups, going direct to breeders is the next best option. You can contact Dogs West to find reputable breeders of pure-bred dogs.

    We would strong recommend against sourcing your puppy from someone you cannot meet or somewhere you can’t visit to see what type of environment your puppy has come from. Some states, like WA, have no laws around dog breeding and you could be getting your dog from a puppy farm – it might look fine and cute now, but without inspecting its parents, or the place where it came from, you can never be sure.

    For more helpful information, have a look at the RSPCA Dog and Puppy Buyers Guide here: https://www.rspcawa.asn.au/animal-information/responsible-pet-ownership.php

  • RSPCA WA:

    27 Aug 2020 09:54:27

    @Shannon: Our position on bringing a new dog or puppy into your home is always Adopt, Don’t Shop. There are so many homeless animals looking for a new home. Of course, if you are unable to find suitable dogs in shelters or through rescue groups, going direct to breeders is the next best option. You can contact Dogs West to find reputable breeders of pure-bred dogs.

    We would strong recommend against sourcing your puppy from someone you cannot meet or somewhere you can’t visit to see what type of environment your puppy has come from. Some states, like WA, have no laws around dog breeding and you could be getting your dog from a puppy farm – it might look fine and cute now, but without inspecting its parents, or the place where it came from, you can never be sure.

    For more helpful information, have a look at the RSPCA Dog and Puppy Buyers Guide here: https://www.rspcawa.asn.au/animal-information/responsible-pet-ownership.php

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