The Queensland Government has recently taken steps towards introducing new legislation for Dog Breeders with a view to stamping down on Puppy Farmers. While we applauded this move, over a period of time it became evident that the legislation is, in it's currently proposed form, discriminating against registered breeders who may have more than 10 dogs in their breeding programmes. Ironically, the registered breeders who openly acknowledge more than 10 breeding dogs in their possession are also the ones who are more likely to have set up their breedings kennels in the correct manner, obtaining local council registration and all other requirements.
The registered breeders who claim to only have a small number of dogs but in fact are using a much higher number of dogs in their breeding programmes, are presently operating outside local council regulations, and we acknowledge that present negotiations with local councils and the Qld Government in regard to Breeder Permits and restrictions in regard to the need for registered breeders to be included in the Qld Government legislation (through a minimum dog ownership requirement), go towards encouraging these registered breeders to tow the line with proper registration of their kennels, however, it also discriminates against those that are already doing so.
As the registered breeders who are already owners of more dogs than council permits and operating under the radar have already stretched the boundaries, the raising of the number of dogs permitted under Breeder Permits will, no doubt, encourage those breeders to stretch the new boundaries again.
Methods of keeping under the radar of local or state legislations, that we are aware of include:
- keeping more dogs than allowed by local council, not registering all dogs, and only reducing numbers if reported to council, stimulating a council inspection. Often dogs are merely hidden until the coast is clear again.
- keeping more dogs than allowed by local council, with the excess dogs being registered with local council in family or friends' names, and claiming that they are only on the breeder's property for a holiday or for purposes of matings.
- selling dogs or puppies on a Breeders Agreement, either transferring to the new owner's name, or retaining registered ownership, with breeder's rights being exercised.
- selling dogs or puppies on dual membership, if registering them, doing so in the name of the person with the least number of dogs registered with local council.
All of these methods allow the breeder to claim a lower number of dogs, whereas the breeders who have obtained council registration will not hide any of the dogs owned, or utilised in their breeding programmes.
While we do not promote that suburban registered breeders ought not to be allowed to operate and applaude the proposed increase of the number of dogs allowed under Breeder Permits, we do believe that equal rights ought to be given to those breeders who have gone to a high expense to provide proper facilites, plus the thousands of dollars paid for noise assessments and local council registration. It is not an inexpensive exercise to 'do it properly' by any means.
In endeavouring to make it possible for urban registered breeders to fall into line, the offshoot is that not only are the breeders who have been operating legally in all ways discriminated against, but the backyard breeder and smaller puppy farmers are also being afforded means to legally operate and without being included in the state legislation.
There is a great deal of 'tunnel vision' involved with the currently proposed legislation that falls well short of the purported aims of these legislations initially. Perhaps those who have zealously endeavoured to cover their own needs ought to step back and take a wider look, instead of continuing to complain in the future about the very things their voices have thwarted - the cessation of puppy farming and backyard breeding.
I believe in Victoria, the State Government has given all registered breeders exemption from the State Dog Breeding Legislation. For the life of me, as registered breeders are already under rules and regulations of their state canine control council (and particularly in Qld with their accredited breeder scheme) requirements in regard to breed health testing and care, I cannot understand why the Queensland Government cannot just follow suit and acknowledge the responsibility already taken by registered breeders by excluding them from the state legislation. The incorporation of current canine control council registered breeders numbers could easily be incorporated in the state breeder registration lists.
One of the best ways to inhibit the backyard breeders and particularly puppy farmers would be to ban the sale of puppies in pet shops as I believe the Mayor of Sydney is endeavouring to do. What a positive move that is towards doing something proactive about the problem. Dog breeding legislation by State Governments, if done properly will assist with other modes of selling the irresponsibly bred puppies and that will flow back to the poor breeding dogs not being required.
If you agree with these comments and would like to make a difference, you could write to the authorities below:
Address: P O Box 495
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Telephone: (07) 3252 2661
Facsimile: (07) 3252 3864
Primary Industries Building
80 Ann St, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Post: GPO Box 46, Brisbane, Qld 4001
Phone: 13 25 23