Sunday Telegraph. By CAROLINE MARCUS; 9th May 2010
Cruelty: Inside a puppy farm
THE RSPCA is poised to launch a nationwide crackdown on so-called ‘‘puppy factories’’ where dogs are bred in atrocious conditions, destined for pet shops, online sales and the
export market. Animal welfare groups say there could be thousands of battery henlike operations across the country, with the industry under-regulated and many backyard breeders liable to face charges of animal cruelty.
The organisation’s national branch will launch the ‘‘Close the puppy factories’’ campaign next Sunday, releasing a discussion paper recommending amendments to animal welfare laws and scheduling a roundtable discussion on the issue for July.
The ‘‘factories’’ are being blamed for an oversupply of pets, with about 60,000 unwanted dogs and cats put down every year in NSW.
Puppy factories — also called ‘‘farms’’ or ‘‘mills’’ — are commercial operations that are mostly unregistered (although some registered breeders also fall in the category), with an emphasis on profit and little consideration of the animals’ welfare.
Dogs may be housed in heavily soiled, cramped cages, with minimal lighting, deprived of food and veterinary care, and exposed to potentially fatal infections and disease, with
mortality rates running as high as 50 per cent, according to the report.
Last year, RSPCA NSW prosecuted a breeder from a semi-rural property in Falls Creek, on the NSW South Coast, where more than 190 dogs and puppies were found.
Officers discovered several dead puppies enclosed in plastic bags, or left in boxes with surviving puppies and their mothers.
On November 27, breeder Dario ‘‘David’’ Baena was convicted under the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, ordered to pay more than $155,000 and banned from owning animals for 10 years.
RSPCA NSW’s chief inspector David O’Shannessy said rescued dogs often had to be put down because of veterinary issues or behavioural problems. ‘‘I remember a cocker spaniel (farm) where the dogs were that filthy that they had matted balls hanging off them. It was just putrid,’’ Mr O’Shannessy said.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore welcomed the campaign after ‘‘years of government inaction and maintaining the status quo no matter how inhumane’’.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan urged people to use registered breeders and report any cruelty to the RSPCA.
But he said the code of practice for breeders and shops was ‘‘very effective’’ and required no new laws.
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