November 17, 2016 – Victoria will become the second state in Australia to pass legislation to stop puppy and kitten farms, and will introduce a central registry of domestic animal businesses.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) passed similar legislation in September 2015.
last month, Victoria’s Government announced that a review of the amendments to the Domestic Animals Act 1994 would be undertaken by its Economic and Infrastructure Standing Committee, which is now taking submissions and will hold public hearings before presenting its findings and recommendations to the Legislative Council by December 2016.
Proposed changes include:
• A limit of 10 female breeding dogs or cats in a ‘domestic animal business (DAB) by 2020. Currently breeders have as many 350 dogs;
• Victorian pet stores can only sell registered pound and shelter dogs and cats;
• Breeders who keep a fertile female dog and sells her puppies, or who keep three or more fertile female cats and sells their kittens, must register as a DAB with their local council;
• The establishment of a new central registry of domestic animal businesses enabling the sharing and cross-referencing of information across municipalities to help strengthen the enforcement of compliance and the identification of illegal operators;
• Clearer rights and responsibilities for foster carers, including a voluntary registration scheme and being able to care for up to five animals at a time without having to register as a domestic animal business;
It is hoped that new amendments will lead to fewer homeless pets and people who go to buy cats and or dogs will know that their new pet has been bred responsibly.
The Domestic Animals Amendment (Puppy Farm and Pet Shops) Bill 2016 will reform Victoria’s breeding and pet shop industries, delivering on Labor’s election promise, the state government claimed.
“We promised Victorians we would crack down on cruel and illegal puppy farms, and this delivers on that promise. Victorians love their pets, and we all want to know our furry family members have come from safe and caring homes, not from illegal and cruel puppy farms,” Victoria State Government Minister for Agriculture Victorian Jaala Pulford said.
“This legislation provides the starting point for a great step forward in animal welfare,” RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker said.
“These changes will also mean breeding dogs should be healthier and easier for breeders to re-home, because it’s easier to provide some basic socialisation and exposure to a normal life when smaller numbers of animals are involved.”
Liz said RSPCA Victoria would welcome further investigation and research around the relationship between numbers of animals and welfare outcomes.
“No jurisdiction in the world has had the courage to set a low limit on the number of animals kept by breeders, so research into the link between animal numbers and welfare outcomes is limited,” Liz said, adding “Setting a limit will allow us to start benchmarking welfare outcomes in Victoria.”
RSPCA Australia’s The Smart Puppy and Dog Buyers Guide
Photo: Dog with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister Agriculture Jaala Pulford