New dog laws protect our four-legged friends

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
RSPCA South West Inspector Genna Haines with Puppy Kiki.
Camera IconRSPCA South West Inspector Genna Haines with Puppy Kiki. Credit: Supplied

There are no laws in WA regulating dog breeding but RSPCA WA has been working with the WA Government to change that, to ensure all dogs in WA are protected.

The Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2019 is before WA Parliament with proposed changes including the creation of a centralised dog registration system and an approval process for all breeders.

All non-breeding dogs will need to be sterilised by the time they are two years old, unless exempt. Pet shops will only be permitted to sell puppies and dogs sourced from pounds and rescue groups. If you already own an unsterilised dog, you can choose not to have them desexed, but you’ll need to obtain an ‘approval to breed’ from your local council, regardless of whether you intend to breed or not.

Livestock working dogs are exempt from the requirement to be sterilised by two years of age to allow owners time to assess whether dogs have traits desirable for breeding. If owners decide to breed or if their dog has an accidental litter, they will need to get approval.

Under the proposed laws, owners will still be able to get a puppy directly from a breeder or rescue group. All breeders will need to comply with new health and welfare standards for their dogs and puppies, so owners can be confident their new pet was bred in acceptable welfare conditions.

South West inspector Genna Haines said Sage was a recent example of how quickly things can get out of hand when breeders lack the knowledge and financial means to properly care for their animals. “She was swollen and sore when she was surrendered with five pups into RSPCA’s care. Sage had mastitis — an infection in her mammary glands which can be fatal if left untreated,” she said.

“She was in so much pain, she had chewed off two of her own nipples. Her owners couldn’t afford to take her to the vet, and we’re thankful they reached out to RSPCA for help.”

The proposed new laws will create accountability for dog breeders and make it harder for breeders who do the wrong thing to make money from their operations. The new laws also protect pet owners, because a dog can be traced back to its breeder if health issues arise.

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