Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania call for Tougher Regulations on Breeders

MEDIA RELEASE: Dogs Homes Of Tasmania; January 1st 2011

What:
President of the Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania, Geoff Clarke, is calling on the state government to follow the lead of other states and territories by introducing legislation to regulate puppy farming and backyard breeding.

“There is an urgent need to the address problems of over-breeding and animal abandonment. The time has come for government to stop the unrestricted breeding and selling of companion animals.” Geoff Clarke

Mr Clarke says that as a society, we can no longer accept that thousands of animals in need of homes are being euthanased while profit-driven breeders continue to churn out puppies.

“Tasmania’s existing animal welfare legislation is inadequate…enforceable standards for dog breeding need to be put in place to improve outcomes for animals.
Geoff Clarke

The Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania proposes mandatory licensing of dog breeders to stamp out unethical breeding operations, restrictions on breeding and a code of ethics.

“We would advocate for an annual restriction on the numbers of animals bred per breeding operation and an enforceable code of ethics to support high welfare standards.” Geoff Clarke

Why:
Puppy farms are intensive dog breeding facilities, supplying puppies primarily to pet shops and on-line buyers. Conditions for dogs in many of these facilities have been found to be lacking and not conducive to producing healthy, well adjusted animals.

“Even if the health and well-being of puppies could be guaranteed in a puppy farm environment, puppy farms are ‘mass producing’ puppies for a market that cannot absorb them. Shelter facilities such as Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania, continue to struggle to cope with large numbers of unwanted ‘surplus’ dogs.” Geoff Clarke

The Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania’s G2Z (Getting to Zero) strategy launched in 2010, aims to have dogs euthansed only if a dogs’ physical or behavioural problems are untreatable, irrespective of cost. Currently 22% of dogs entering the Homes are euthanased.

The majority of dogs brought to the Dogs’ Homes are strays, brought in by council officers and the public. Around 18% of in-coming dogs are relinquished by their owners. In the past 12 months, the states three Dogs’ Homes have cared for 4, 315 dogs. Of these, 2,197 were reunited with their owners, 1,151 were adopted and 947 were euthanased.

“Fortunately, the number of dogs euthansed is steadily dropping…the community’s support of the Homes’ adoption and foster care programs helps us save lives but there is still a long way to go.” Geoff Clarke

The Dogs’ Homes aim to reduce euthanasia rates to below 10% and say this is a real challenge because irresponsible breeders continue to flood an already over-supplied market. The Dogs’ Homes urge people to adopt a dog rather than provide a market for puppy farmers.

“Puppy farming is not justifiable, both in terms of animal welfare and the cost to the community. Everyone is picking up the tab for the actions of profit-driven breeders.” Geoff Clarke

Who:
The Queensland Government recently announced that it is planning to implement a dog breeder identification system to be in place by the end of 2011. The aim of the new system is to squeeze unethical puppy farmers out of the market.

Queensland’s Local Government Minister Desley Boyle said the dog breeder ID was being developed in partnership with industry to give consumers a pro-welfare choice when it comes to buying a puppy.

“There are unscrupulous puppy farmers out there who keep animals cooped up in cramped conditions where they are constantly pregnant or lactating just to keep up with buyer demand.” Desley Boyle

“These are ruthless operators who typically put cash ahead of care and buyers are none the wiser.” Desley Boyle

In the ACT, the Greens have recently proposed changes to the ACT Animal Welfare Act to include mandatory licenses for cat and dog breeders and compulsory de- sexing of cats and dogs at the point of sale.

“We are calling on government and local stakeholders to sit down with us and develop proactive and effective solutions to end intensive breeding practices in this state.” Geoff Clarke

Currently there are 60 adult dogs and 6 puppies awaiting adoption at the Hobart Dogs’ Home, Scotts Rd., Risdon Vale. Dogs and puppies are microchipped, desexed and vaccinated prior to adoption. The adoption fee is not taken as profit but to off- set veterinary costs.

Photos and information on dogs awaiting adoption can be found at http://www.dogshomesoftas.com.au

Contact: Geoff Clarke President
Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania
Mob : 0457 589 624

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