Courier Mail; Hannah Davies; February 23, 2011
COUNCILLORS have been accused of failing to target puppy farms and backyard breeders despite State Government laws introduced last year to curb the problem.
The Gold Coast City Council launched the Government’s groundbreaking pilot scheme on June 1 last year, requiring breeders to own permits before they sell puppies and kittens.
It was hoped the program would squeeze out unscrupulous breeders, preventing hundreds of animals from being kept in appalling conditions.
But almost nine months on, a letter leaked to The Courier-Mail has revealed the council is struggling to police the initiative due to a lack of resources.
The news has outraged animal welfare campaigners who have given their support to the scheme.
RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said this was a real chance for councils to help stop puppy farms.
“It would be a shame to see this fail because it will stop so many animals from being mistreated,” he said.
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Under the scheme breeders must pay $369 for a three-year licence to be mentioned in any advertisement they put out.
Breeders who do not comply with the council’s code of conduct could be fined $1500.
A council spokesman said no infringement notices had yet been issued.
But lobbyist Simone Hewitt, of Non Human Rescue Ops, said she regularly sees advertisements for puppies which do not display permit details.
“The council should have enforced this a long time – ago it’s just not good enough,” she said.
In a letter dated December 30, 2010, the council’s animal management co-ordinator Geoff Irwin revealed that breeder permits had not yet been issued.
Yesterday, the council spokesman said just 15 permits had been issued but council officers were busy meeting with breeders to educate them about the scheme.
“Once broadly adopted, additional resources will be allocated as required to ensure compliance with the animal breeder permit requirements,” he said.
If successful the State Government had planned to roll out the scheme across all Queensland councils this July.
Yesterday, a spokesman refused to say whether this would go ahead but said the Government would “explore various options in order to address the issues of puppy farms across Queensland”.
He said it was the council’s responsibility to enforce the need for breeder permits.