The Mercury, BRUCE MOUNSTER | January 19, 2012
DOG’S LIFE: Paul Bartlett with daughter Lisa and two pups from their farm yesterday.
ONE of Tasmania’s most prolific puppy farms has spoken out in the face of controversy surrounding the state’s dog-breeding industry.
“Treat all dogs with respect that’s the crux of our business,” said Paul Bartlett, who with his daughter Lisa operates Tasmanian Labradoodles at a farm near Epping Forest.
They said there was no place for unregistered, backyard, or any other sort of puppy farm that wasn’t subject to RSPCA or council scrutiny.
Mr Bartlett said that in the context of an animal welfare storm surrounding unscrupulous breeders, his business had nothing to hide.
They breed and sell between 300 and 400 pups a year.
Of those, about 25 per cent find owners in countries as far away as Singapore, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Bermuda and Japan.
Another 25 per cent find homes in Tasmania and the rest are sold interstate.
Mr Bartlett said every pup sold for prices between $1295 and $2295, and the business, especially the overseas component was growing.
Six staff look after about 75 breeding dogs and their litters, with as many as seven pups.
“We breed for demand,” Mr Bartlett said.
Emma Haswell, who owns Brightside Sanctuary, has said that unethical puppy farms can leave dogs terrified of people and with severe health problems.
She said hundreds of dogs were being used as breeding machines at puppy farms around the state.
Her sanctuary had taken in 120 former breeding dogs in the past year, including more than 30 from a puppy farm south of Hobart.
At Tasmanian Labradoodles, Mr Bartlett said two male breeders and one female were typically housed in 5m by 25m pens, with garden shed kennels at one end.
Heavily pregnant mums are moved indoors, to lie in plastic clam-shell containers for giving birth.
Mr Bartlett said that just like humans, relaxed and contented parents produced relaxed and contented pups.
“All of them, we lay them on their backs, give them belly rubs, we rub their ears, rub their paws,” he said.
The dogs feast mostly on chicken, along with vegetables, eggs, yoghurt and some supplements to keep them in tip top health and condition.
Their farm is a commercial-dog-food- free zone.
Photographs of each puppy are published and regularly updated on the farm’s website, in litter groups, to give prospective owners a comprehensive insight.