Weekly News Now; Chris McLennan | February 1, 2012
EXCLUSIVE: UNWANTED kittens and pups may be dumped or destroyed due to sweeping new animal laws (In Vic).
It is now illegal to advertise animals “free to good home” unless they have costly microchips implanted.
And breeders of working dogs believe they are now operating as outlaws and are liable to fines of more than $20,000.
They have called for an immediate amnesty to give the Government time to exempt farm dogs from the crackdown on illegal puppy farms.
Combined with mandatory de-sexing, pet owners face up to $1000 to prepare a litter for sale to abide with the Government’s new version of the Domestic Animals Act.
All cats and dogs must now be microchipped before they are sold or given away.
All cats and dogs aged three months or over must be registered with a local municipal council.
“A family is not going to bother trying to give an unwanted litter away if it is going to cost them,” an animal shelter operator in central Victoria, who did not want to be identified, said.
“They are going to put them in a box, dump them on a back road, and leave them to die.”
New legislation designed to wipe out puppy farms has caused a storm among working dog organisations, who have asked the Government for an amnesty to cover their breeders.
They are building a case to separate working dogs such as Kelpies, cattle dogs and Border Collies from companion animals as other states such as NSW have done.
Working dogs groups face an uphill battle as the Department of Primary Industries has already begun to police the new laws, which came into force on January 1.
Kelpie breeder Bill Scott from Glenrowan said there was no consultation with working dogs groups before the laws were drafted.
“For instance, under the new laws we understand all breeders have to be members of Dogs Victoria which is mainly for show dogs, and working dog people have their own groups but they are not recognised,” Mr Scott said.
“We are currently in a no-man’s land and every day we are breaking the law.”
Mr Scott said it was estimated there were 25,000 working dogs in Victoria and he doubted many of them would comply with the new laws.
Anyone who tries to sell or give away kittens or pups without including microchip information on the notice can be fined $610.
Animal shelters, veterinarians and dog and cat groups are all solidly in support of the Government push to stamp out illegal puppy farms but many are critical about the lack of community education on the new laws.
Cats Victoria chair Trish Newman said there would be some collateral damage from the new animal laws.
“We want to stamp out those people who are cruelly breeding just for profit, the backyarders,” Mrs Newman said.
“Unfortunately, there will be some pain in the interim and perhaps the government hasn’t worked hard enough to get the word out, but we have got to stop these people.”
Ingrid Arving, operator of a Broadford animal shelter, said pet lovers might take years to get used to the new laws.
“I am sorry for the family who can’t get rid of litters the way they could in the past, but they should have had their cat de-sexed,” she said.
A DPI spokesman said hundreds of thousands of animals were unidentifiable. Only two-thirds of dogs were registered or had microchips and only 30 per cent of cats.
“Perhaps this will halt the flood of animals being taken to shelters and eventually destroyed,” the spokesman said.