Weekly Times Now; Chris McLennan | March 14, 2012
At risk: Working dog breeders are still under threat from new animal laws.
VICTORIA’S municipal councils have been asked to loosen the leash on the outlawed breeders of working dogs.
Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh wants the councils to “exercise powers of discretion” in applying new animal laws designed to stamp out puppy farming.
Mr Walsh has acknowledged the breeders face “a difficult situation” trying to comply with the laws.
“The Government is attempting to solve a problem that has been in existence for many years, which has seen working dog breeders operating outside the law.”
Working dog breeders say the Government failed to consult with them before the new laws were introduced on January 1 and has only now set up a review of its Code of Practice for Breeding and Rearing Establishments.
The breeders have been told the Government may introduce temporary rules specifically for them.
The crucial exemption from the new laws sought by working dog breeders relates to kenneling and concreted yards.
Breeders of Kelpies and Border Collies are now exposed to fines of more than $1000 for not meeting kennel registration requirements and they could also be fined up to $20,000 under the new version of the Domestic Animals Act.
Mr Walsh said the problem with registration of working dogs had existed before the Coalition Government came to power although his government also failed to consider the special requirements of working dogs.
Mr Walsh said commercial and stud working dog breeders were required to register as domestic animal businesses with their local council and were also required to comply with the breeding establishments’ Code of Practice.
“Severe penalties now exist for breeding establishments that do not register with their council or comply with the code of practice,” he said.
“The Department of Primary Industries will advise councils they may exercise powers of discretion when registering domestic animal businesses breeding dogs for sale that are not considered a puppy farm operation.
“In light of the current review of the Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Establishments, councils may register a breeding and rearing establishment allowing the business to operate with certain exemptions from the current code until a revised code is released.”