Landmark action against backyard dog breeder – Fay Armstrong

Media Statement; Gov of WA; 7 Jul 2011

Consumer Protection 219 St Georges Terrace Perth Western Australia 6000 Tel: (08) 9282 0961  Fax: (08) 9282 085

Email: cpmedia@commerce.wa.gov.au      www.commerce.wa.gov.au www.wa.gov.au

A backyard dog breeder has settled action in the Supreme Court by undertaking not to sell diseased animals, or any animal which has not been vet-checked and vaccinated, in the first injunction action of its kind in Australia.

The legal action against Fay Marie Armstrong, by WA’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection, was the first to be brought under the new Australian Consumer Law (WA), which became fully active on 1 January 2011.

Ms Armstrong, who operates out of her home in Spearwood, signed an enforceable undertaking, which means she can only sell animals which have been certified as healthy by a vet, are vaccinated and free from illnesses such as parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza and bordatellabronciosepta.

Commissioner from Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said the consequences of breaching these Supreme Court undertakings would be serious.

“Ms Armstong could face compensation orders and even imprisonment if she fails to sell  only dogs  that  are  in  good  health.  She  is  now required to  provide proper certification that confirms they are in good health” Ms Driscoll said.

“We felt this action against Ms Armstrong was necessary after numerous reports from consumers who had bought animals from her, only to find their new pets were dying, or very ill, with contagious diseases.             Some had to have their pets put down, while others paid for expensive vet treatment.”

The Commissioner advised consumers to have animals they plan to purchase examined or certified by a veterinarian to help ensure they are healthy at the time of sale.

“Animals with  diseases and health problems should not  be  sold  to  unsuspecting buyers and pets which have been given proper care should not die only a few weeks after purchase,” she said.

“Traders can argue that the animal may have contracted the condition after purchase so a pre-purchase health check is strongly recommended.

“Sellers of pets should understand that the offer of a refund of the purchase price is not always appropriate, as the buyer may have formed an emotional attachment to the pet  and  may  not  want  to  return  it.  Therefore,  the  trader  should  expect  to  be responsible for reasonable vet bills when conditions existed in animals at the time of sale.”

Businesses can find more information about their responsibilities under the Australian Consumer  Law  at  www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumerprotection.  There  is  also advice about consumer rights, including an online publication called ‘A consumer’s guide to buying a pet’.

A hard copy of the brochure can be obtained by calling 1300 3040 54 or emailing consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au .

END OF RELEASE

(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)

You can now follow us on Twitter: @ConsumerWA or like our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionWesternAustralia

Media Contact:

Alan Hynd 928 0961 or 0429078791 alan.hynd@commerce.wa.gov.au

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2 Comments

Filed under Breeders, WA

2 responses to “Landmark action against backyard dog breeder – Fay Armstrong

  1. companionanimalnews

    This could be a good tool to fight BackYardBreeders – it sets a legal precedent that can be applied to others.

  2. Proud womon

    sadly she can still breed though – which means dogs still get used as breeding machines…

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