31 May 2023

WA’s leading animal welfare organisation is pleading with consumers to do their research before buying a puppy, following a spate of puppy farm cases.

Since 1 January, more than 780 puppies have been the subject of cruelty reports made to RSPCA WA, most detailing suspected puppy farms or backyard breeding.

Already this year, RSPCA WA has finalised three long-running puppy farm cases.

RSPCA WA CEO Ben Cave said to see the physical and mental state of dogs rescued from these properties was heartbreaking.

‘These cases all involved dogs living in squalor, being bred time and again to make a profit, with no regard for their health, or the health of their puppies,’ Mr Cave said.

‘They involved ‘desirable’ breeds; Maltese shih-tzus, poodles, cavalier King Charles spaniels, labradoodles, and French bulldogs, all of which sell for thousands of dollars.

‘In the case of an offender sentenced last week, it is conservatively estimated she was raking in at least $180,000 a year.

‘We are asking the public to please help us stamp out unethical breeders like her by following a few simple rules.’

RSPCA WA is urging potential dog owners to consider adoption as their first option, with WA shelters and rescue groups overrun with dogs of varying breeds, sizes and ages.

‘The cost-of-living pressures and housing squeeze has led to an increase in surrenders and abandonments and there are so many dogs needing a loving home,’ Mr Cave said.

‘However, if you do decide to buy a puppy, never buy online and never buy sight unseen. Always meet your new puppy and their mum in the home where the puppy is being raised. If the seller refuses or wants to meet in a neutral location, call the RSPCA WA Cruelty Hotline.’

‘We have just 11 inspectors on the road throughout WA and while the Stop Puppy Farming laws will help to stop these serial animal abusers, we still need the public to be our eyes and ears when it comes to animal cruelty.’

The RSPCA warned against thinking you were ‘rescuing’ a puppy from a bad situation by buying from a suspect seller.

‘That just increases the breeder’s profits and increases demand,’ Mr Cave said.

The RSPCA says health issues in the dogs seized in the highlighted cases ranged from heart disease to extreme difficulty breathing, anxiety, complete shutdown, skeletal issues, and skin allergies to name a few.

‘Not only is this appalling for the dogs we have rescued, but these conditions are often hereditary, so their poor puppies suffer as well, and the new owners will be forced to fork out thousands in vet bills.’