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 uncontrolled? 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 2019 is currently before WA Parliament. While the proposed new laws may not be perfect, they’re a good place to start to bring regulation 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.

The Bill has passed the Lower House and will be debated in the Upper House when WA Parliament returns on 11 August. Unfortunately, the Liberal and National Parties have both indicated they plan to oppose the legislation.

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 2019 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 the animal entire.  Some dogs are exempt from mandatory sterilisation, but even then, their owners will need to have this ‘approval to breed’.

How will these changes effect commercial dog breeders?

Breeders registered with Dogs West will also need to obtain an ‘approval to breed’.  This will ensure that under legislation the same regulatory process will be applied to all dogs, and is essential to the success of these proposed new laws. Other than obtaining this approval the high standards practiced by Dogs West breeders will not be diminished.

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.

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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