Tag Archives: Moorabool Council

Plan for super-sized puppy breeding centre

Geelong Advertiser; Kerri-Ann Hobbs; March 29th, 2010

A MELBOURNE puppy farmer has unveiled plans for a super-sized breeding centre at Ballan, about 70km north of Geelong.

Planning documents filed with the Moorabool Shire Council show the proponents, Robert and Chanthavilit Attard, want to build 52 runs, each to hold two breeding dogs, and a birthing shed on the 20ha farm on the Ballan-Geelong Rd.

But the plan has shocked the RSPCA, which described it as one of the largest farms it had encountered.

“Mr and Mrs Attard wishes (sic) to build a house on the property and expand his current interests in the ‘dog breeding industry’ and develop a dog breeding and dog rearing establishment,” the application stated. “The site is currently used for the grazing of sheep, has water supply related infrastructure already established suitable to be further developed for use as a dog breeding farm.”

The business plan shows the breeding centre would have two, 26-run kennels, with two breeding dogs to be kept in each pen.

The runs would be 4m by 15m, with 14sq m of concrete in each pen and one third of the concreted area covered by a shed to house the dogs.

A 5m treed buffer would separate the two kennels and extra trees would be planted in the pens to give dogs shade.

The entire centre would be screened with trees to reduce barking annoying neighbours.

RSPCA chief executive Maria Mercurio said the organisation did not support the establishment of puppy farms and she believed the community also hated their existence.

She said the group was lobbying the State Government to boost animal protection laws to ensure puppy farms were more accountable and that councils enforced those rules.

“It’s very frustrating for us as well,” Ms Mercurio said.

“The rules need to be re-written, they need to be clear and they need to be easy to enforce.”

Animal Liberation Victoria’s Debra Tranter said the group would be lobbying to prevent the permit being granted.

“The plans for this puppy farm resemble a piggery,” she said.

“Dogs are not primary producers, they are companion animals and deserve to be treated as such.”

The Ballan property is about 20km from the site of another notorious puppy farm run by Leslie Paxton and Melinda Pryor, who were accused of keeping dogs in appalling conditions on their Beremboke farm.

Earlier this month the shire council won their VCAT hearing, with a ruling that banned the couple from keeping more than five dogs at their property.

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Premier joins fight to shut down puppy farm

Vic: Geelong Advertiser, Jeff Whalley; February 27th, 2010

PREMIER John Brumby yesterday joined the chorus of disgust over a notorious puppy farm near Anakie.

As Mr Brumby said he was “distressed” about the animals’ plight, the RSPCA backed Moorabool Shire’s bid to shut down the farm.

“I, like all Victorians, was very distressed to read the claims of the mistreatment of these puppies,” Mr Brumby said, while visiting Geelong.

“Upon reading the Geelong Advertiser’s story, the Agriculture Minister’s office got in contact with Moorabool Shire yesterday to ensure the council has the support it needs to take action on this matter.”

The shire will plead its case in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Monday.

A damning shire rangers’ report revealed some dogs had been left to die on the end of chains, lacking shelter or water.

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The report said 59 dogs were being kept on the Beremboke property, owned by Les and Melinda Paxton.

Some dogs did not have clean water and many were kept in cramped cages littered with faeces, the report said.

The shire used the report to reject the Paxtons’ retrospective application to keep 30 dogs on the property.

It is believed State Government lawyers are working over the weekend with Moorabool Shire staff to confront the Paxtons at VCAT on Monday in a bid to take away the dogs.

It is understood the Paxton’s could face the full force of the law, including being fined for failing to register as a domestic animal business and additional fines of up to $1000 for every unregistered dog.

Animal Liberation Victoria secretly visited the property on Monday to film the dogs’ plight and sent photographs to the Geelong Advertiser.

The RSPCA has since joined a chorus of voices calling for an end to the suffering.

Victorian president Maria Mercurio yesterday revealed she had personally called Moorabool Shire to see how her organisation could assist in shutting down the farm.

“I got off the teleconference an hour ago. My opening line was how can we assist to close down this puppy farm? It is our common objective,” Ms Mercurio said.

“They made it clear to me that it was their intention and I was pleased to hear that resolve.”

Ms Mercurio said inspectors visited the property again on Thursday and were concerned about welfare of animals but found no breaches of the law under which they could prosecute for abuse.

“The law is very specific about criminal offences. It carries a very high burden of proof,” she said.

Ms Mercurio said a State Government review of animal protection laws was ongoing and said it could lead to a tightening of restrictions.

Mr Brumby yesterday pulled back from saying that laws needed to be strengthened to deal with rogue puppy farms.

“Victoria has strong laws in place to protect animal welfare and council together with the RSPCA are equipped with the appropriate powers to prosecute alleged breaches of these laws,” he said.

The Paxtons have repeatedly refused to respond to questions from the Geelong Advertiser.

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Photographs of puppy farm ‘too shocking’

Vic: Geelong Advertiser; Jeff Whalley February 25th, 2010

 SHOCKING: A pug sits in a small cage in this photo taken by Animal Liberation Victoria on a secret visit this week to the puppy farm north of Anakie.

PHOTOGRAPHS of conditions at the Paxtons’ dog kennels were too distressing for the public to see, Moorabool Shire mayor Pat Toohey said.

Cr Toohey told the Geelong Advertiser the images, captured by rangers at the Beremboke puppy farm during inspections, were withheld from a damning council report on the farm.

“Certainly photos could not run in the report. The senior planning officer said they were not presentable in a public report,” Cr Toohey said.

The Moorabool Shire is seeking an enforcement order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to clean up the conditions on the site.

A council report said the kennels breached council policies for keeping dogs and failed the minimum standards for the Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Dogs under the Planning and Environment Act.

Councillors voted to pursue the VCAT action at last Tuesday’s council meeting.

Photo gallery click here.

Rangers who inspected the property last September found animal carcasses left to rot on the ground and dogs kept in cages strewn with faeces.

The scathing report to councillors revealed the puppy farm failed all 27 minimum standards for dog care.

“Given evidence onsite of avoidable animal fatalities, it is considered that the subject facility does not comply with this (health) standard,” the report says.

It also found that there were no adequate effluent treatment facilities provided to contain, treat or dispose of animal waste within the boundaries of the site.

Cr Toohey said the case had only come before the council because the owners had applied for retrospective permission to keep 30 dogs.

RSPCA spokesman Tim Pilgrim said his organisation had been to the property and he applauded the council action.

“From an organisational point of view we do have ongoing concerns with over intensive breeding practices,” he said.

“We are very pleased the council are taking action in these circumstances.”

Mr Pilgrim said that while there were no breaches under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act there were code of practice breaches.

“These are outlined pretty clearly in the council report,” he said.

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Secret raid on Beremboke puppy farm

Vic: The Courier; BY MEG RAYNER; 25 Feb, 2010 01:28 PM

MORE than 40 puppies were found housed in squalid living conditions at a Moorabool puppy farm during a secret raid this week, according to animal activists.Animal Liberation Victoria secretly visited the Beremboke puppy farm near Anakie on Monday night and said they were shocked at the horrific conditions.Campaign manager Debra Tranter said it was a horrible night, with puppies found in cages and chained to cars surround by their own faeces and rotting meat.She said there were also countless pig and piglets roaming the property, which she described as a huge derelict junk yard.”The dogs have no access to water … there were no food bowls, we filmed rotten meat thrown on the ground,” she said.”They were living in really unhygienic conditions.”Last week the Moorabool Shire Council denied Melinda and Les Paxton a permit allowing them to run the puppy farm, after claims they had as many as 59 dogs on their property at one time.Neighbouring property owners complained about dogs escaping, excess ive noise and people shooting kangaroos to feed the dogs.Mr Tranter said it has since been revealed council officers visited the site in September last year and witnessed the shocking conditions but did nothing about it.”The most upsetting thing out of the whole property was that all the authorities, both the RSPCA and council, have known about this for eight years and done nothing,” she said.”After they photographed dead dogs chained to trees last September they should have acted then, charged the man and seized the surviving dogs.”The Moorabool Shire is seeking an enforcement order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to clean up the conditions on the site. To access original article, click here…

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