Press Release Animal Welfare League of Queensland, May 14, 2010
THE Animal Welfare League of Qld supports the introduction of Breeder Permits on the Gold Coast as an important step to reducing the numbers of abandoned cats and dogs which are killed because there are too many for the numbers of responsible homes available.
The AWL Qld is a leading welfare organisation with the lowest euthanasia rates for a whole city in Australia. However, it is still always full with abandoned cats and dogs from the Gold Coast and surrounding cities and shires.
Last year 1400 abandoned cats and dogs from Gold Coast residents were euthanased despite ongoing publicity regarding the importance of desexing, (including low cost services through the AWL Qld Community Vet Clinic), and extensive community awareness and education programs.
AWL Qld strategic development officer Joy Verrinder has welcomed the scheme and is confident it will reduce the number of unnecessary deaths.
“The new Breeder Permit legislation will provide additional impetus to reduce accidental and irresponsible breeding,” Ms Verrinder said.
“Any Gold Coast resident who has an entire animal who intends to breed cross breeds or pure breeds will now have to get a Breeder Permit. It applies to those who breed from a couple of cats or dogs in their backyard, those who breed as a hobby, and those who have commercial breeding establishments with large numbers of breeding animals.
“The new breeder permit system will help end the cycle of thousands of unwanted kittens being born each year to be abandoned in pounds and shelters or left to wander and breed without a home.”
Ms Verrinder said as the new Breeder Permit system comes into effect over the next few weeks Gold Coast residents will be required to desex their kittens prior to sale or transfer at 10 weeks of age; unless the new owner purchasing the kitten has a breeder permit, or a veterinarian authorises the kitten would be at risk if desexed.
She said desexing kittens at eight to 10 weeks was an easier operation, less stressful on the cat, and prevented cats getting pregnant from which they can do from four months of age.
“Our statistics show 20% of people who have an unwanted litter just haven’t got around to getting their animal desexed; another 20% have not had their animal desexed due to cost or because they thought their cat was too young,” she said.
“The great thing is that anyone who accidentally breeds without a permit, or who cannot afford to desex their kittens, will be supported by subsidies for desexing.”
To avoid a fine for being an unpermitted breeder, kittens can be handed in to AWL Qld for desexing and rehoming, and AWL Qld will desex the mother cat or dog free of charge if the owner cannot afford to pay. Anyone who cannot afford desexing can phone the National Desexing Network on 5509 9001.
“While puppies don’t have to be desexed prior to sale, the new Code of Practice will provide a legislative framework to require breeders to take good care of their breeding animals, socialise the breeding animals and their puppies, and provide information to new pet owners so animals are more likely to stay in their new home for life,” she said.
“There has been a lot of publicity about ‘puppy mills’ and ‘backyard breeders’ who exploit their breeding animals and churn out animals with little care for the animals’ health and well-being.
“Under the new Breeder Permit system, Gold Coast breeders will also be required to publish breeder permit numbers so that people purchasing a puppy or kitten will know if the breeder has been authorised as able to provide acceptable welfare standards.”
The Breeder Permit requires compliance with a Code of Practice which sets Standards (which will be requirements under the Gold Coast Local Law) and Guidelines (which are highly recommended practices) for cat and dog breeders covering the following areas:
- Enclosure and housing
- Sourcing of animals
- Food and water
- Exercise, training and enrichment
- Health care
- Breeding and rearing of young animals
- Transfer of ownership
- Record keeping
The Breeder Permits will cost $369 from June. This is a necessary cost for inspections to assess breeders’ capacity to comply with animal management and welfare standards in the Code of Practice.
Breed organisations have accepted this as a necessary requirement to ensure people who do choose to breed from their animals are aware of their responsibilities. Breeders will be able to recoup this cost through the sale of their litters. Breeders who do not care for animals appropriately will not be issued a Breeder Permit. An inspection will be required every three years, or earlier if there are complaints.
Irresponsible breeding costs the community millions of dollars each year, with the council having to impound and care for more than 6000 abandoned animals and AWL Qld dependant on community funds to care for and rehome about 5000 animals each year.
The new Breeder Permit system has undergone an extensive planning process involving all stakeholders including representatives from Gold Coast City Council Animal Management Dept, AWL Qld, RSPCA Qld, Queensland Feline Association, Queensland Independent Cat Council, Council of Federated Cat Clubs, Dogs Queensland, Gold Coast Dog Obedience Club, Wildcare Australia, Wildlife Preservation Society, Pet Industry Association of Australia, Australian Veterinary Association and the Queensland Government.
The new breeder permit system is one of four Pilot Projects supported by the Queensland Government to trial ways of preventing approximately 20,000 cats and 10,000 dogs throughout Queensland being killed in pounds and shelters each year.
For more information, images or an interview, please call AWL PR manager Gabrielle Wheaton on 07) 5509 9030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org