Daily Telegraph; Richard Noone; Jan 27 2011
THEY are the “puppy farms”, the dark secret behind the tens of thousands of cute little dogs sold through pet shops, classifieds and websites every year.
Despite their well-documented existence, authorities are almost powerless to collar puppy farmers.
“Currently anyone who puts two dogs together can call themselves a breeder,” Animal Liberation campaign co-ordinator Jacqueline Dalziell said.
“There are no limits, checks or balances and, with puppies selling for anywhere from $500 up to $1500, it’s a very lucrative business.”
The RSPCA is lobbying for a national registration or licensing scheme so all puppies, regardless of how or where they are sold, can be traced back to the breeder.
The aim is to end the suffering of thousands of puppies, like nine-month-old cavalier king charles spaniel Ruby.
The dog may endure a lifetime of physical, emotional or behavioural problems as a result of being bred in a so-called puppy farm.
When Ruby’s new owners took the eight-week-old puppy home from a breeder at Raymond Terrace, the family did not know the dog had canine giardia, a parasitic infection of the small intestine. Breeder Carolyn Hudson, of Kindee Kennels, denied knowingly selling an infected puppy despite later paying for Ruby’s treatment after her new owners threatened to take the matter further.
Mrs Hudson has surrendered more than 50 dogs to the RSPCA following two raids on her property since September 2009.
Footage from one such raid was featured on the RSPCA’s reality TV show Animal Rescue last year.
No charges have been laid against Mrs Hudson.
RSPCA NSW chief inspector David O’Shannessy said that “investigations were continuing”.
Mrs Hudson denied being a puppy farmer but admitted she bred dogs to avoid “financial ruin” after the collapse of a family business and ailing health left her unable to work.
She said she ran her breeding operation without an ABN and conceded at one point that having more than 100 dogs in two sheds could be considered “intensive”.
“I have no qualms about what I’m doing, at least it’s all out in the open,” she said.
“I could tell you there are a lot [of breeders] out there worse than me.”
A Port Stephens Council spokesman said an inspection of Mrs Hudson’s property last month discovered about 140 dogs, which breached the development consent limiting her to a maximum of 10 dogs.
Mrs Hudson said it was the first she’d heard of a limit and agreed to reduce her dog numbers to 10 by the end of February.
“I’m trying to get out of dogs by the end of the year,” she said.