Western Australia bans puppy mills and sale of dogs in pet stores

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The sweeping pet laws just passed in Western Australia will soon make puppy mills illegal. The law also requires that pet stores only offer rescued dogs for adoption and that all dogs must be spayed or neutered, with registered exceptions.

Dubbed the Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020, the bill was first introduced six years ago by Lisa Baker, Member of Parliament for Western Australia.

“I was horrified to see how the puppy mills worked. I was faced with the utter lack of health and well-being for these poor, abused dogs. It was all about the money, often operating outside the formal economy, and sending thousands of puppies to pet stores or selling car boots, ”Baker told Treehugger.

“I knew I had to try and turn things around after seeing devastating reports of dogs locked in underground bunkers, never seeing daylight or breathing fresh, overcrowded air for this heinous trade. ”

Western Australia is a state which encompasses the western third of the country. It is the second largest subdivision of a country in the world.

The new laws include several key elements:

  • Rather, pet stores that sell dogs should work with rescue organizations to set up adoption centers. This opens up more possibilities for dogs to find a home.
  • Dogs must be spayed before the age of 2, unless their owners have requested and received a breeding exemption. The goal is to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
  • People who wish to breed their dog must apply for approval, which will allow the breeders to be found.
  • Information on dogs and cats will be kept in a central registration database.

Happy and healthy puppies

“Puppy breeding is a global problem. Breeding dogs on large scale farms or factories is a very profitable business. Because dogs often fall under the category of agriculture, they are not protected. against the abuses that accompany factory farming. Farmers are usually not. needed to provide proper food or shelter, let alone medical care, “says Jennifer Skiff, director of international programs for Animal Wellness Action in Washington, DC and administrator of Dogs’ Refuge Home in Western Australia, who co-authored the position paper that leads to the legislation.

“Once laws are created that define breeding standards and you combine them with a government (not private) registration system, you have the option of shutting down the supply chain of sick and abused dogs,” Skiff told Treehugger.

“Add to that the conversion of pet stores – from operations that traffic puppies to businesses that work in conjunction with shelters, and you have a system that promotes ethical breeders, dramatically cuts the number of healthy dogs per pound.” and provides consumers with healthy, happy puppies. ”

In the past, breeding was self-regulated and self-registered, says Debra Tranter, founder of Oscar’s Law, an anti-puppy campaign in Australia.

“When we get information about the puppy mills and we start an investigation, nine out of ten times we find out that the puppy farm is in fact a ‘registered breeder’,” Tranter told Treehugger. “So we have proven over the years that self-regulation does not work and that being a registered breeder does not equate to being human or ethical. ”

With the new law, breeders must register their businesses and dogs and apply for permission to breed. This creates a liability for the health and welfare of their animals and also allows for traceability if the animals become ill.

“They don’t self-regulate anymore. If they don’t provide medical care for their dogs, the government will have a way to find out. If they breed, they will be breaking the law, ”Skiff says. “In addition, the government will be able to deny those found guilty of animal abuse or neglect a breeding license. We now have the ability to stand in the way of people who exploit dogs for profit. ”

Remove greyhound muzzles

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In addition, the new legislation will remove existing laws that require pet or retired racing greyhounds to be muzzled in public. Greyhounds must always be kept on a leash in public and registered racing greyhounds must continue to wear muzzles in public.

“Retired Greyhounds are too often attacked and injured or worse, killed when attacked by other dogs when kept on a leash by their owners. They cannot defend themselves against aggressive dogs. More than 20 greyhounds would have been attacked in 2020, ”explains Baker.

“The muzzle gives potential adopters and the public a false impression of the greyhound. Grays by nature like to sleep on a sofa rather than training and racing! Many other breeds have similar or greater prey, but have never been required to wear a muzzle. ”

The bill received Royal Assent this week, meaning it received formal and formal approval. It may take up to a year for the law to be fully implemented, but greyhound dismantling will be immediate.

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