Herald Sun; Kelly Ryan; Oct 27 2010
CHILDREN will be banned from buying puppies and kittens – even goldfish – at pet stores under new laws to protect animals.
Under sweeping reforms, a re-elected Brumby Government would outlaw anyone under the age of 18 from buying animals.
Cats and dogs sold from pet stores will have to be desexed.
And lost or abandoned animals at shelters will get up to six weeks to find a new home.
At the moment dogs and cats on death row have 28 days to be adopted.
Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said rogue puppy farms would be stamped out, with the RSPCA to join councils in getting greater powers to shut them down and seize their animals.
Mr Helper has promised another $4 million over four years to the RSPCA to investigate and prosecute cruelty cases.
“Victorians have shown they will not tolerate animal cruelty and that is why a re-elected Brumby Labor Government will take these tough measures to protect animals and pets,” Mr Helper said.
Children will be banned from buying animals at pet stores unless they have parental consent.
Currently, pet stores are governed by a non-enforceable code of conduct to restrict the sale of certain animals to specific ages.
Shop owners found to have sold an animal to a minor will face fines.
There are about one million dogs and 600,000 cats in Victoria, and it is understood about 15 per cent of animals bought each year come from pet shops.
A store-bought pet costs anywhere from $700 to $1300.
But new rules demanding they be desexed or making the new owner buy a desexing voucher is expected to add another $200 to the cost.
A dog from the Lost Dogs’ Home costs $275 and an adult cat $95. All animals sold from shelters are desexed, microchipped and vaccinated.
Under the reforms, pet breeders face fines up from $1200 to $2400 per breach if they do not register as a domestic animal business or don’t comply with a code of practice.
The Government will also expand the responsible pet ownership program to cover 300 more kindergartens.
And a Smart Pet Buyers program will help Victorians ensure their pet is from a shelter or responsible and registered pet breeder.