IT’S been a difficult year for the Hams family.
Owners of one of Australia’s prominent dog breeding farms, Banksia Park Puppies, Colin Hams and son Matthew came under fire last June from Animal Liberation Victoria, who accused the Hams of animal cruelty and neglect.
The conflict came to a head when animal rights activist Debra Tranter entered the Stradbroke property during the night and Matthew Hams suffered injuries to his spine and ribcage after, the Hams allege, he was hit by Ms Tranter’s car. The drama also caused his father Colin to suffer a minor heart attack.
Ms Tranter faced Sale Magistrates Court this January on charges of assault with a weapon, reckless conduct endangering life and reckless conduct causing injury.
The charges were dismissed as the Magistrate ruled it was impossible to tell if Matthew Hams was in front of her car, or if she deliberately drove into him.
What continued from that June night was a war of words, as ALV launched an unyielding attack against the farm – formerly known as ACA Breeders Kennels – over the internet and through the media, with reports appearing in the Herald Sun, accusing the kennels of animal cruelty, of treating animals as property and contributing to the rising number of dogs ending up in shelters.
“I was an emotional wreck there for a while,” Colin said. “I was very affected by it all.
“For 20 years I’ve been in this business and then we have people coming here deliberately trying to flatten our reputation.
“But it’s made us rise to the occasion. We’re determined to fight for our reputation.”
Banksia Park Puppies will host an open day on Sunday from 10am to 3pm, where community members will be given tours through the premises, and will get to interact with the dogs.
Banksia Park is located on the South Gippsland Highway between Longford and Stradbroke.
For more information regarding the open day, phone Matt Hams on 0427 021 010 or Malcom Rolton on 0427 319 019.
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