16 December 2021

RSPCA WA has welcomed the overnight passing of legislation to stop puppy  farming in Western Australia, hailing it as the biggest single animal welfare improvement in WA in 20 years.

The Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2021 includes important checks and balances to end irresponsible and indiscriminate dog breeding.

RSPCA WA Chair, Lynne Bradshaw, said the animal welfare organisation had worked with government to get the new laws introduced.

‘This is a very welcome day indeed and I congratulate the State Government on its commitment to improving animal welfare,’ Ms Bradshaw said.

‘The stop puppy farming legislation is vital in preventing cruelty, neglect, overbreeding, and abandonment of dogs.

‘Until now, dog breeding in WA was unregulated, meaning irresponsible breeders and puppy farmers were able to breed and supply dogs without having to comply with any regulations.

‘This leads to long-term health and behavioural issues in dogs, with the pieces often picked up by our inspectors and other animal care staff.’

Genetic faults often don’t become apparent until the dog gets older and new owners who bought a cute looking puppy often face massive vet bills for corrective surgery as the puppy grows and issues are identified.  Sadly, when the health problems become too great, owners are faced with the heartbreaking reality that their dog must be euthanised to save it from a life of pain and suffering.

‘Many dogs coming into our care are simply unplanned and unwanted, dumped, neglected or abandoned,’ Ms Bradshaw said.

‘This will also be addressed by the new laws.’ Jester loving life in his new home

So far this year, RSPCA WA has cared for 280 puppies.   

The four key pillars to this legislation will have a big impact on the number of unwanted dogs and puppies in WA each year:

  • mandatory sterilisation
  • registration of anyone wanting to breed from their dog
  • a centralised registration system
  • pet shops that sell dogs to become adoption centres.

Another welcome component of the legislation is an end to muzzling requirements for pet or retired racing greyhounds when in public places.

Ms Bradshaw said obtaining an ‘approval to breed’ will be a one-off registration meaning the new laws are not onerous for current reputable breeders.