Moorabool council moves to close puppy farm

The Courier, BY MARCUS POWER;26 Feb, 2010
MOORABOOL Shire Council has moved to shut down an alleged puppy farm at Beremboke. Last week, the shire rejected an application by the property owners Les and Melinda Paxton to have 30 dogs on the land.

The shire has now lodged an application with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to stop Mr Paxton having dogs on the land and to demolish the kennels.

“Council is hoping for a hearing date next week,” the shire’s chief executive officer Robert Dobrzynski said in a statement.

He said the council had contacted its lawyers to work out if it had grounds to immediately shut down the property.

But Animal Liberation Victoria spokeswoman Debra Trantor said the shire had been too slow to act on complaints about the farm.

“They’ve sat on this council report since September last year where they entered the property, took photos of dead and dying dogs without water in appalling conditions and did nothing about it,” Ms Trantor said.

She said the shire should also have moved to prosecute the Paxtons over their treatment of dogs at the farm.

“Council do have the power under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to lay charges against these people.”

Animal liberation activists secretly visited the property overnight earlier this week.

The Courier contacted Mr and Mrs Paxton for comment yesterday but was told they were not at home.

Before last week’s decision, neighbours had complained to the shire about dogs escaping, excessive noise and people shooting kangaroos to feed the dogs.

Shire compliance officers who visited the property reported dogs had been chained to trees and cars, kept in cages with concrete floors without water, and raw meat was thrown on the ground for the dogs to eat.

Mr Paxton has 60 days to appeal the council’s decision to reject his permit application.

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