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Feb Dog Blog - Puppy Farm Strategy

24 February 2012

FEBRUARY DOG BLOG

Queensland Government Announcement

PUPPY FARM STRATEGY



Members would be aware that for more than 12 months, Dogs Queensland has been working closely with the Queensland Government in an attempt to find workable solutions to resolving the issue of Puppy Farms in this State. In the December 2010 Presidents Message, members were alerted to the fact that unscrupulous puppy farm operators were going to be put under scrutiny.

The Dogs Queensland position has always been to make recommendations to Government which will protect the best interests of our responsible member breeders whilst exposing the dishonest breeders in our community generally referred to as “puppy farmers”. Dogs Queensland always believed that and future Government strategy would result in a "numbers game". That has proven to be the case with the Government releasing four options as part of the Regulatory Assessment document.

Just prior to Christmas 2010, then Minister Desley Boyle announced the Governments intention to crack down on these dishonest breeders and on Saturday 21st January 2012, Minister Tim Mulherrin released the results of a year of consultation with major stakeholders.

Dogs Queensland supports the Government strategy to regulate the activities of unprincipled dog breeders and by so doing is keeping pace with generally held community perceptions and expectations of animal welfare, particularly in relation to the welfare of dogs used in a breeding facility.

I invite members to keep themselves fully informed of this important step forward by the State Government by familiarising themselves with the information contained in the following documents all of which are available below:

• Statement by Minister Tim Mulherrin, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies
titled – Minister Mulherrin Puppy Farm Statement Jan 2012. To view, CLICK HERE.

• The options which the Government is considering during a period of public consultation which closes on 5th March 2012. These options can be viewed by reading the document titled -
Regulation of Dog Breeders Draft Regulatory Assessment Statement. To view, CLICK HERE.

• The Guidelines and Standards which will apply to all dog breeders as part of the increased regulation of devious puppy farm type dog breeders. The former Council of CCCQ had considerable input into this document and most of our recommended changes and recommendations have been adopted. Please read the document entitled – The Queensland Standards and Guidelines for the Welfare of Animals: Breeding Dogs. To view, CLICK HERE.

The Queensland Government is considering four options as a means of better managing unscrupulous Puppy Farms but only one of those options (Option 2) best suits our Dogs Queensland responsible member breeders.

In short, a summary of each of the options being proposed would be as follows:

• Option 1 – Retain existing provisions (this is not really an option given the resolve to finally deal with deceitful Puppy farmers in Queensland);

• Option 2 – Registration of breeders with ten (10) or more entire bitches or twenty (20) or more entire dogs.
This is the Dogs Queensland preferred option as it would have minimal affect on our responsible member breeders;

• Option 3 – Registration of breeders with ten (10) or more entire dogs
This option (together with Option 4 below) are the preferred Welfare group choices. Both of Options 3 and 4 would have significant impact on our Dogs Queensland members. This option 3 would require listing both entire male and female dogs on the Government register despite the fact that male dogs do not deliver a litter of puppies;

• Option 4 – Registration of persons with ten (10) or more dogs
Option 4 is again preferred by the Welfare Groups (RSPCA and AWL) and it would impose significant restrictions on our Dogs Queensland members. Registration of persons with ten (10) or more dogs would be irrespective of those dogs (male or female) being entire OR desexed. Once again, Dogs Queensland fails to accept that male dogs or desexed male and / or female dogs are contributing to the problem of Puppy Farming in Queensland.

Your Council would encourage you to send your feedback in support of Option 2 direct to Biosecurity Queensland as a matter of urgency. All that is required is for you to acknowledge your membership of Dogs Queensland, that you are a responsible breeder of pedigreed, registered dogs and that you are very alert to ensuring the care and wellbeing of the dogs which you own.

You then need to provide and acknowledge your support for Option 2 stating that you believe that it would have the necessary impact on devious Puppy farmers in Queensland without impacting significantly on responsible Dogs Queensland member breeders.

Rest assured that the Welfare groups will be encouraging their supporters to do the same. Those groups do have the ability to muster significant support from a broad cross section of the community and they will be encouraging their supporters to indicate Option 3 or 4 as their preferred strategy.

If our Dogs Queensland members choose to do nothing then it is very likely that many of you will be caught out by having to comply with a very restrictive Government imposed registration system – please don’t think that your response won’t count – every response that the Government receives in support of Option 2 will make a difference.

There are two other URGENT items of business of which members need to be made aware.

1. Despite two requests via the Queensland Dog World magazine over the past 12 months (for members to update their data), it would appear that our Dogs Queensland registers still have details of “deceased dogs” appearing against individual Queensland members. Just one example would be as follows: There are 24,719 QLD registered dogs on file BORN PRIOR to 2000 that are NOT marked as deceased.

It would be highly unlikely that very many of those dogs would actually still be alive today. The same would apply to dogs younger than 12 years of age that are deceased. Please contact the Dogs Queensland Office if you require assistance in identifying any dogs that remain incorrectly on your records.

The State Government will not be able to differentiate – all dogs that appear against a member’s name will be considered to be alive and as such may be counted into the Puppy Farm management scheme.

We know of members who have owned in excess of 50 dogs over the period of their “dog world” participation and yet none of those dogs (some showing up as 20 – 30 years of age) still appear on our registers. Updating dog register details is easy – you don’t need to send in original pedigree certificates (these can be kept on your files for nostalgia purposes).

All members need to do is photocopy the certificate of registration and pedigree, mark across this photocopy the word “DECEASED” and then post these photocopies into the Dogs Queensland office with an accompanying note providing your name and membership number.

2. The other issue is one of litter registrations and the number of puppies being bred by some of our members.
It may come as a surprise to many of our responsible member breeders to realise just how many litters are being registered by a small percentage of our members. Whilst these breeders are not breaking any specific Dogs Queensland rule, it does raise serious questions about their compliance with our Code of Ethics – in particular Clause 2 e which states: I agree not to breed from a bitch or a dog in a way that is detrimental to the dog or the bitch or to the breed. I further acknowledge that I shall breed only with the intent of maintaining and/or improving the standard of the breed and welfare, health and soundness of my dogs and I shall strive to eliminate hereditary diseases within my dogs and from within the breeds.

Despite the best efforts of Dogs Queensland, it is unlikely that some of these breeders can avoid being caught up in any future Queensland Government Puppy Farm strategy. It may be a good time for these breeders to consider their breeding strategies and be mindful that compliance with State Government imposed regulations may be inevitable.

Your Council does realise that this document contains a lot of information but all of the details are necessary to keep you fully informed.

Please take the time to register your support for Option 2 following the Biosecurity contact details provided below.

Additionally, please ensure that you update the details of the dogs / bitches registered in your name on our Dogs Queensland database – this is critically important to ensure accuracy of our records.

And finally, think before you plan your next litter during 2012 – ask yourself whether you are breeding to improve the standard of your chosen breed and producing a quality, healthy animal.

The time has come for Dogs Queensland members to send a very clear message to the Government in respect of the proposed Puppy Farm strategy. Whilst the Queensland Parliament is currently in “caretaker mode” leading up to the March 2012 State Government elections, we still need to register the preferred direction of our members.

To do this, Biosecurity Queensland have established on their website facilities to receive feedback during the period of public consultation. This public consultation period closes on 5th March 2012.

Feedback - All feedback must be submitted to Biosecurity Queensland by post or email by 5:00 pm, Monday 5th March 2012.

Mail - Regulation of dog breeders - draft Regulatory Assessment Statement Biosecurity Queensland
Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation
GPO Box 46
Brisbane  QLD  4001

Email -
endpuppyfarming@deedi.qld.gov.au

Online - Provide your feedback by completing our online response form: CLICK HERE.


Ulla Greenwood
President




 


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