Kelpie puppies bred by breeder Steve Serone.
Kelpie puppies bred by breeder Steve Serone. Marc Stapelberg

DPI commits to more consultation on dog breeding rules

Update: NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) has committed to a further round of consultation on Standards and Guidelines for companion animal breeders and operators of pet shops.

The commitment has come as a 12-week stakeholder consultation period on the draft Standards and Guidelines for Breeding of Dogs and Cats; and Animals in Pet Shops draws to a close.

NSW DPI Deputy Director General of Biosecurity and Food Safety, Dr Bruce Christie said the stakeholder response to the draft Standards and Guidelines reflects a broad range of views in relation to animal welfare.

"We know people feel passionately about achieving great animal welfare standards in this state and we are keen to ensure that our codes, regulations, legislation, standards and guidelines reflect the latest science and community standards," Dr Christie said.

"In 2015, the Joint Select Committee on Companion Animals Breeding Practices in NSW found there is more work to do to ensure the welfare of animals across the state.

"By updating the existing breeding and pet shop codes with new Standards and Guidelines, we are responding to this need.

"We have received a large number of submissions through the first round of consultation and it will now take a number of months to properly consider each one. We understand stakeholders are anxious to have more answers, however we are committed to getting this right and don't want to rush the process."

NSW DPI will also prepare a consultation report, which will summarise the feedback received in submissions, to be published mid-year.

Dr Christie said all major stakeholders will be kept up to date as DPI work through the second round of consultation.

NSW DPI released the draft Standards and Guidelines for targeted consultation between October 27 2017 and  February 5 2018.

Original story Monday 11.18am: NSW Farmers has voiced concern proposed dog breeding regulations would place the fundamental position of working dogs on farms under threat.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has developed draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Breeding Dogs) Standards and Guideline in response to animal welfare incidents on puppy farms but they will apply to all dog breeders.

NSW Farmers strongly opposed the proposed regulations applying to working dog breeders, saying they are not feasible.

Chair of the NSW Farmers Animal Welfare Committee James Jackson said the proposed regulations are completely unrealistic for small breeders, and they do not differentiate between working and companion dog operations.

"These regulations are intended to address health and welfare concerns with puppy farms. The regulations focus on large commercial operations and will require all breeders to have completed specific training courses, have specialised housing facilities and detailed management procedures," Mr Jackson said.

"The detailed requirements will force working dog breeders to either stop operating or continue in fear of being found non-compliant, with these overly bureaucratic requirements.

"We are deeply concerned that the vital role of working dogs in agriculture has not been considered. There is no recognition of the importance of working dogs nor that these dogs are bred for a specific purpose unlike companion dogs.

"NSW Farmers is calling on NSW Department of Primary Industries to exempt working dogs from these requirements, and recognise the difference between working and companion dogs.

"Working dogs need to be treated different, otherwise they will continue to be tangled in puppy farm regulation".

In January, The Northern Star spoke to kelpie breeders who said responsible pet dog breeders would also be impacted by the proposed regulations, saying changes to breeding standards would make it easier for commercial farms to produce litters.

Steve Serone, of Lismore, said the new regulations would only hurt smaller breeders who are already doing the right thing.


Kelpie puppies bred by breeder Steve Serone.
Kelpie puppies bred by breeder Steve Serone. Marc Stapelberg

He said he was a responsible breeder, only breeding one litter a year, vaccinating and registering the dogs and making sure they went to good homes.

"The problem with a lot of those laws in my opinion is they disadvantage people doing the right thing."

He has four dogs and a litter of puppies at home and says it would be "terrible" if he was forced to meet new regulations that meant he would have to separate the dogs outside his home.

Of the new standards, he said: "If somebody came to check those regulations, I wouldn't meet them."

Mandy Sansom from Grafton was also concerned the new standards would mean she could no longer breed dogs.

"They were trying to stop puppy farmers and backyard breeders, but what they have written now, basically the only people who would be able to breed are huge commercial farms."

For 20 years, Mrs Sansom has bred kelpies, which she sends all over the world.

She said her purpose-built kennels would not meet the new requirements.

"I'd have to have all my dogs that are being used for breeding, including baby dogs that have just been born, up in (the kennel) and it still wouldn't meet requirements because they can see each other because they have wire between them.

"How on earth could you raise a family pet with it being born and raised in a cubicle, so it will mean the end of breeders like me or any breeder because - even if you have one litter - you're a breeder.

"Where are people going to get their puppies from?"

The DPI will review feedback provided to a recently concluded stakeholder consultation process and consider whether amendments are required.

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