SHANE Rattenbury says legislation designed to prevent the intensive breeding of dogs and cats for the local pet market starts today.
“Today marks a major step forward for animal welfare in the ACT, preventing the kind of serious animal welfare issues we have seen in other states with dogs and cats being impregnated as often as possible and treated as money-making machines with no concern for the animal’s health and welfare,” Shane said.
“This kind of breeding operation, otherwise known as puppy and kitten farming, sees female dogs and cats deprived of social interaction, exercise and responsible health care for their entire lives.
“The ACT Greens-Labor Parliamentary Agreement contains a commitment by Government to improve animal welfare standards for cats and dogs in the ACT. The first part of this was achieved with the introduction of the Code of Practice for the Sale of Animals within the ACT in October 2013. These new laws are the next important step in fulfilling the Agreement’s objectives.
“The new legislation under the Domestic Animals Act 2000 introduces a licensing scheme for dog and cat breeders which allows for the inspection of breeders’ premises to ensure intensive breeding is not occurring. These new breeding licences, which do not have any cost to the applicant, are intended to ensure irresponsible breeders cannot operate within the ACT.
“The legislation also criminalises the intensive breeding of female dogs and cats and introduces penalties of up to $15,000 for an individual and $75,000 for a corporation who exploits animals for the pet market.
“The new declared breeding standards, developed in consultation with the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, stipulate that dog breeders may only breed a dog between the ages of 18months and 6 years and are limited to 4 litters per dog. A dog can only have one litter within an 18month period.
“For cat breeders, cats can only be bred between the ages of 12 months and 7 years, with a limit of 8 litters per cat, restricted to 3 litters within a 2 year period.
“These breeding standards have been designed to reflect the minimum standards that legitimate breeders are currently applying, so it won’t impose an additional burden on those already doing the right thing.
“To allow for a phase-in period, we are giving breeders until Friday 8 January 2016 to obtain a licence. Breeding organisations and those who currently hold a licence to keep a sexually entire dog or cat have been contacted about the changes and will be provided with assistance to help comply with the new legislation.
“The new scheme has been through extensive industry consultation with leading pet industry organisations—including Dogs ACT, Capital Cats, Australian National Cats and the Pet Industry Association of Australia—to ensure it is effective and as simple as possible for legitimate breeders.”
For more information on the new legislation, including how to apply for the breeder’s licence, please visit tams.act.gov.au